Ennio Morricone, Oscar-Winning Film Composer, Dies at 91

Italian composer won his first Oscar for 2016’s “The Hateful Eight” after six nominations

Last Updated: July 6, 2020 @ 5:41 AM

Oscar-winning Italian composer Ennio Morricone died Monday at age 91, his lawyer told the New York Times.

Morricone became famous for his melodic scores for 1960s Westerns like “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” and “Once Upon a Time in the West.” He drew on his work in so-called spaghetti Westerns for Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 Western “The Hateful Eight,” which earned the composer his first Academy Award after five previous nominations and an honorary award in 2007.

In addition, Morricone picked up three Golden Globes and two Grammy Awards during his long and celebrated career.

The Rome-born composer wrote the scores for more than 500 films in a wide range of genres and styles — but often drawing on his desire to place music and sound effects like ticking watches and buzzing flies at the foreground of the filmgoer’s consciousness.

He earned Oscar nominations for Terrence Malick’s 1978 drama “Days of Heaven,” Roland Joffe’s 1986 film “The Mission,” Brian De Palma’s 1987 hit “The Untouchables,” Barry Levinson’s 1991 crime drama “Bugsy” and Giuseppe Tornatore’s 2000 romance “Malena.”

The prolific composer banged out as many as 20 movies scores in a single year. Other credits include Édouard Molinaro’s “La Cage aux Folles” (1978), John Carpenter’s “The Thing” (1982), Roman Polanski’s “Frantic” (1988),  Tornatore’s “Cinema Paradiso” (1988), Wolfgang Petersen’s “In the Line of Fire” (1993), and Warren Beatty’s “Bulworth” (1998).

Tributes soon poured in for the composer. “We will always remember, with infinite gratitude, the artistic genius of Maestro Ennio Morricone,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte tweeted. “It made us dream, move, reflect, writing memorable notes that will remain unforgettable in the history of music and cinema.”

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