Carmen Dragon was born in Antioch, California. He was very active in pops music conducting and composed scores for several films, including At Gunpoint(1955), Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), Night into Tomorrow (1951), and Kiss Tomorrow Good-bye (1950).
With Morris Stoloff, he shared the 1944 Oscar for the popular Gene Kelly/Rita Hayworth musical Cover Girl, which featured songs by Jerome Kern andIra Gershwin.
He made a popular orchestral arrangement of "America the Beautiful" and also re-arranged it for symphonic band. According to his website, he was awarded an Emmy in 1964.
He conducted the Hollywood Bowl Symphony Orchestra, and they performed on The Standard School Broadcast, broadcast on NBC in the western U.S. for elementary schools from 1928 through the 1970s. The show was sponsored by the Standard Oil Company of California (now the Chevron Corporation), but other than the name there were no commercials. The program featured a high quality introduction to classical music for young people growing up in the 1940s and early 1950s.
Dragon made a series of popular light classical albums for Capitol Records during the 1950s with the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Some of these recordings have been reissued by EMI on CD. Dragon appeared as himself briefly at the end of the 1979 film The In-Laws, conducting the fictitious Paramus Philharmonic.
Dragon also hosted a regular classical music radio show broadcast on the Armed Forces Radio Network—now the American Forces Network—well into the 1980s.
Carmen Dragon had 4 children. Son, Daryl Dragon of the 1970s pop music duo The Captain & Tennille, daughter, Carmen E. Dragon (died July 11, 2010), classical harpist, son, Dennis Dragon, drummer for the popular surf band Surf Punks; also produced much of The Captain & Tennille's music, daughter, Kathryn Dragon Henn, Manager of Mr. Dragon's Orchestral Pops Rental Library