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Jerry Goldsmith

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Los Angeles, United States (1929 – 2004)

Jerrald King “Jerry” Goldsmith (February 10, 1929 – July 21, 2004) was a famous and prolific American film score composer from Los Angeles, California. Goldsmith was nominated for eighteen Academy Awards (winning one, for The Omen), and also won five Emmy Awards.

Goldsmith learned to play the piano at age six. At fourteen, he studied composition, theory and counterpoint with teachers Jacob Gimpel and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Goldsmith attended the University of Southern California, where he attended courses taught by veteran composer Miklós Rózsa. Goldsmith developed an interest in writing scores for movies after being inspired by Rózsa.

In 1950, Goldsmith found work at CBS as a clerk in the network’s music department. He soon began writing scores for radio (including CBS Radio Workshop, Frontier Gentleman, for which he wrote the title music, and Romance) and CBS television shows (including The Twilight Zone). He remained at CBS until 1960, after which he moved on to Revue Studios, where he would compose music for television shows such as Dr. Kildare and The Man from U.N.C.L.E.

In 1963, Goldsmith was first nominated for an Oscar for John Huston’s film Freud. Shortly after, he met Alfred Newman, who was instrumental in Goldsmith’s hiring by 20th Century-Fox. Goldsmith went on to collaborate with many great filmmakers throughout his career, including Robert Wise (The Sand Pebbles, Star Trek: The Motion Picture), Howard Hawks (Rio Lobo), Otto Preminger (In Harm’s Way), Roman Polanski (Chinatown), Steven Spielberg/Tobe Hooper (Poltergeist), and Ridley Scott (Alien). But his most fruitful collaboration was arguably that with Franklin Schaffner (for whom Goldsmith scored Planet of the Apes, Patton and Papillon).

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