Leopold Stokowski was a British conductor of Polish and Irish descent. One of the leading conductors of the early and mid-20th Century, he is best known for his long association with the Philadelphia Orchestra and for appearing in the film Fantasia. He was especially noted for his free-hand conducting style that spurned the traditional baton and for obtaining a characteristically sumptuous sound from the orchestras he directed.
In America, Stokowski performed with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, New York Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the Symphony of the Air and many others. He was also the founder of the All-American Youth Orchestra, the New York City Symphony, the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra and the American Symphony Orchestra.
Stokowski conducted the music for and appeared in several Hollywood films, including Disney's Fantasia, and was a lifelong champion of contemporary composers, giving many premieres of new music during his 60-year conducting career. Stokowski, who made his official conducting debut in 1909, appeared in public for the last time in 1975 but continued making recordings until June 1977, a few months before his death at the age of 95.
Stokowski married three times. His first wife was the American concert pianist Olga Samaroff (born Lucie Hickenlooper), to whom he was married from 1911 until 1923. They had one daughter: Sonya Stokowski. His second wife was Johnson & Johnson heiress Evangeline Love Brewster Johnson, an artist and aviatrix, to whom he was married from 1926 until 1937 (two daughters: Gloria Luba Stokowski and Andrea Sadja Stokowski). His third wife, from 1945 until 1955, was heiress and actress Gloria Vanderbilt, by whom he had two sons, Leopold Stanislaus Stokowski and Christopher Stokowski. Source: Wikipedia