Meredith Willson was an American writer, composer, and conductor. Born in Mason City, Iowa on May 18, 1902, he is probably best remembered for the musicals The Music Man and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. He married Elizabeth "Peggy" Wilson in 1920, but the couple divorced in 1948. Willson married Ralina Zarova in 1948 and they were married until her death in 1966. In 1968, he was wed for the third and final time to Rosemary Sullivan. Willson earned two Academy Award nominations. He passed away on June 15, 1984 and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan on June 23, 1987.