Herbert Stothart II, a long-time professor of Art History at Santa Monica College, and the son of composer Herbert Stothart died Thursday, October 6, following a stroke. He was 74.
Born on November 23, 1929 in Santa Monica, California, he was son of artist Mary Wolfe Stothart, and the pioneer Broadway and MGM film composer Herbert Stothart, who is perhaps best-known for the original score for 1939 film classic, The Wizard of Oz.
He grew up in Brentwood, attended The Harvard School and UCLA, where he earned a Master’s Degree in Art History.
He married Roberta Ann Bates and together they built a house on the old Malibu Road, a location he chose for its perfect surf breaks.
Driven by his passion for Italian art, he moved his family to a tiny village in the Provincia di Como, Northern Italy, where he was instrumental in the founding of nearby Franklin College. The family traveled extensively together, often crossing the Atlantic Ocean on banana boats, and other nontraditional forms of transportation.
After the family returned to Southern California, Stothart taught art history at Santa Monica College and UCLA, often inviting students and friends on day-long trips to his mountain top property in Solstice Canyon (a Center for Spiritual Renaissance) where they engaged in passionate discussions on ancient art and architecture, Greek tragedies, opera, ethics, gardening, sculpture and nature.
According to his family, Stothart was a consummate dreamer and was deeply committed to the idea of living off the land.
He was also a great supporter of The Film Music Society and its efforts to preserve film music.
He preserved many of his father’s music manuscripts and papers, and the Herbert Stothart Collection, which is currently being catalogued for UCLA Music Special Collections, includes rare material about Broadway and Hollywood.Stothart is survived by his four daughters; Lisa, Camille, Anna Lucia and Betta; his sister, Constance Stothart Bongi, and Roberta Bates Stothart. A memorial service will be held on “The Mountain” in the spring.