22 July 2004 | IMDb News

Jerry Goldsmith, the legendary composer whose diverse, long, and prolific career included some of the most famous themes of the last fifty years, died in his sleep Wednesday night in Beverly Hills, after a long battle with cancer. He was 75. Goldsmith was nominated for 17 Academy Awards, winning his sole Oscar for The Omen, as well as 5 Emmys, including the theme for Star Trek: Voyager. Goldsmith's career began in the early 1950s with the nascent television medium and continued virtually non-stop, until his illness forced him to abandon appearances and offers for more work. Born in 1929, Goldsmith was a classically trained musician, who learned from pianist Jakob Gimpel, as well as guitarist and film composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. With his diverse background Goldsmith wrote effectively for nearly every genre imaginable but seemed particularly adept at crafting original work for science fiction, suspense, and adventure films. That held true for both television and film. His TV work included the themes to The Waltons, Dr. Kildaire, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and original music for The Twilight Zone and Gunsmoke. Films afforded him a broader canvas and Goldsmith took advantage of it with his work on Freud (his first Oscar nomination), Lillies of the Field, Von Ryan's Express, and The Sand Pebbles. His garish, brassy score for Planets of the Apes, which he conducted at one point wearing an ape mask, earned him his fourth nomination. His score for Patton, full of memorable marches, included the ingenious and indelible device of a short trumpet triplet to indicate the famous WWII general's recollection of his past lives as a warrior (it was also famously spoofed in a Simpsons episode). Roman Polanski's harsh city in Chinatown was given a smoky noir glow from Goldsmith's score. It was for his work on The Omen, arguably one of the best horror scores ever written, that Goldsmith received his only Academy Award. Suffused with Latin chanting and fierce, driving themes, it is often repurposed or imitated today. Goldsmith also liberated the "Star Trek" franchise from its small-set roots with his rapturous, almost nautical, score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The theme for the film became the new theme for the following films as well as Star Trek: The Next Generation. It will probably be the most lasting evidence of Jerry Goldsmith's long and successful career. Goldsmith is survived by his wife, Carol; five children, six grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.

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