|Film Music Pioneer, Basil Poledouris dead at 61|
Samuel Van Eerden
November 9, 2006
For those of us who follow motion picture music--the works of composers like John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Ennio Morricone--the news that Basil Poledouris had passed away yesterday, was a great shock. And a sad revelation.
Poledouris, the USC grad and composer of famous soundtracks like Conan the Barbarian, Robocop, and Hunt For Red October was 61 when his extended bout with cancer finally ended. Over the years, Poledouris has been inflicted with multiple tumors, including in the lung and brain. He had experienced some remission in recent years (enough to get back into his favorite hobby: sailing), but it eventually came back, and he passed away in Los Angeles yesterday.
In the past few years, the film music world has mourned the loss of composers like Jerry Goldsmith and Elmer Bernstein. Now add Basil Poledouris to the list of greats who has passed on, leaving behind a legacy of music that will continue to have its mark on movie and soundtrack enthusiasts everywhere. Basil was best known for broad, sweeping orchestral compositions (a la The Blue Lagoon and Starship Troopers), but some of his most gallant additions to the soundtrack world were heavily synthesized works (as in Love for the Game and Red Dawn). Though he never received an Academy Award, we did win an Emmy for his work on the TV series Lonesome Dove and lived to see his music performed on many grand stages, including during the opening of the Centennial Olympics in Atlanta, when his original piece "Tradition of the Games" was used.
Though he will probably be remembered mostly for his work on the brass-heavy, fanfaric Conan films, Basil's soundtracks spanned numerous genres and touched on many themes, from romance and childishness, to horror and high fantasy.
Mr. Poledouris--you will be greatly missed!
The family has also requested that you be in prayer for them during this difficult time. Basil had two daughters, one of which--Zoe--had helped him with various soundtrack ventures (including Conan the Barbarian and Starship Troopers).
Selected filmography of soundtracks Basil Poledouris composed (source: IMDB):
1. The Touch (2002)
2. Crocodile Dundee in Los Angeles (2001)
3. Love and Treason (2001) (TV)
4. For Love of the Game (1999)
5. Misťrables, Les (1998)
6. Starship Troopers (1997)
7. Amanda (1996)
8. The War at Home (1996)
9. Free Willy 2: The Adventure Home (1995)
10. Under Siege 2: Dark Territory (1995)
11. The Jungle Book (1994)
12. Lassie (1994)
13. Serial Mom (1994)
14. On Deadly Ground (1994)
15. "Return to Lonesome Dove" (1993) (mini) TV Series (themes)
16. Free Willy (1993)
17. RoboCop 3 (1993)
18. Wind (1992)
19. Return to the Blue Lagoon (1991)
20. Flight of the Intruder (1991)
21. White Fang (1991/I)
22. Quigley Down Under (1990)
23. The Hunt for Red October (1990)
24. Farewell to the King (1989)
25. "Lonesome Dove" (1989) (mini) TV Series
26. Spellbinder (1988)
27. Intrigue (1988) (TV)
28. No Man's Land (1987)
29. RoboCop (1987)
30. Iron Eagle (1986)
31. "Misfits of Science" (1985) TV Series
32. Misfits of Science (1985) (TV)
33. "The Twilight Zone" (1985) TV Series
34. Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985) (TV)
35. Protocol (1984)
36. Red Dawn (1984)
37. Conan the Destroyer (1984)
38. Amazons (1984) (TV)
39. The House of God (1984)
40. Single Bars, Single Women (1984) (TV)
41. Flyers (1983)
42. Summer Lovers (1982)
43. Conan the Barbarian (1982)
44. Fire on the Mountain (1981) (TV)
45. A Whale for the Killing (1981) (TV)
46. The Blue Lagoon (1980)
He had been going to score several other projects in the near future, including Igor and Bunyan and Babe. No word yet how far into those scoring enterprises he was and whether or not his music will see an album release.
|Veteran Film Composer Basil Poledouris Dies at 61|
By: Randall Larson, Columnist
Date: Thursday, November 9, 2006
Emmy Award winning film and television composer Basil Poledouris passed away Wednesday from cancer in Los Angeles. He was 61.
Poledouris is survived by his former wife Bobbi, his children Zoe and Alexis, and a brother and a sister. No services are planned.
Basil Poledouris was born on August 21, 1945 in Kansas City. He started taking piano lessons when he was 7 years old. Eventually he went on to become a student at USC, where he studied the arts of directing, cinematography, editing, sound and of course music. It was also at USC he met John Milius and Randal Kleiser, both acclaimed directors with whom he would work in the future.
Even though Basil had already composed music to John Milius' much talked about Big Wednesday (1978), his real breakthrough came in 1982 when he composed the score to Milius' epic fantasy movie, Conan the Barbarian (1982). The powerful themes that Basil created for this movie opened the eyes of the movie industry, as well as the public, and it is arguably one of the best soundtracks of the 80s. Basil went on to make soundtracks for such movies as: RoboCop (1987) (the first Paul Verhoeven movie of many for which he has composed), Lonesome Dove (1989 miniseries) for which he won an Emmy, Farewell to the King (1989), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Free Willy (1993), Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers (1997), and Les Miserables (1998).
Composer Christopher Lennertz (Supernatural, Saint Sinner) was a good friend of Basil's and wrote this today: ďI can't tell you all what a sad day this is. I lost a person today who was very important to me. Basil Poledouris was an amazing mentor, an inspired teacher, and above all, a good friend. Sadly, he lost his hard-fought battle with cancer this afternoon and now can be free of pain and suffering, but he will be so very missed by all of us... perhaps more than he even knew. He and his family were extremely generous and kind to me. I learned so much from him, not only about music, but about the business, life, and even sailing. His daughter, Zoe, even sang on demos for me. Their selfless love and support has lasted years beyond my work with him and never ceased to amaze me.
"I truly wish with all my heart that everyone could have known him like I did... but then I realize that we all can: Listen carefully to Conan and you'll know how powerful and passionate he was. Listen to the beautiful love theme from Farewell to the King and you'll know how deeply he loved his daughters, family, and friends. Listen to Wind and you'll know how he felt on his boat, sailing to Catalina. Listen to the subtle strains of It's my Party and you'll hear how he celebrated and valued life. It absolutely breaks my heart to think that I will never be able to see him again... never be able to ask his advice, or look to him for guidance. But then I realize that he left us the greatest gift of all... that we can still hear him: when I put in a CD, turn on my ipod, or put in a favorite DVD. I can listen to his music and be in the presence of him once again... be inspired by him again. And thank God for that. It doesn't make the pain go away, or the loss any less, but after I clear the lump from my throat and wipe my eyes, it does make me smile, if just a little.
"I cannot thank him enough for the impact he had on my life, and I'm so positive that the world is a better place with the music he left for all of us. Be at peace now, my friend.
With love, sadness, and admiration,
Donations may be made in Basil Poledouris' name to the Catalina Island Conservancy and Mr. Holland's Opus.
- via filmmusicworld.com
|21 November 2006|
Director Robert Altman Dies at 81
Robert Altman, the legendary director behind such modern classics as MASH, Nashville, The Player, and Gosford Park, died Monday night in Los Angeles; he was 81. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed, and a statement released Tuesday afternoon stated that Altman died from complications due to cancer; the news release also said that Altman had been in pre-production for a film he was slated to start shooting in February. When he was presented with an honorary Academy Award just last year, Altman revealed that he had been the recipient of a heart transplant within the past ten years, a fact he hadn't made public because he feared it would hinder his ability to get work. One of the most influential and well-respected directors of modern cinema, Altman's work was marked by a naturalistic approach that favored long, unbroken tracking shots and overlapping dialogue (as well as storylines), as well as improvisation, usually among a large ensemble cast. Though now regarded as one of the premier American filmmakers, Altman had a career that reached both popular and critical highs as well as lows, as he burst onto the scene in the early '70s with very acclaimed films, but had a string of commercial and critical failures as well. All told, he received five Oscar nominations for directing MASH, Nashville, The Player, Short Cuts and most recently Gosford Park. Other numerous awards include two Cannes Film Festival wins (for The Player and MASH), a Golden Globe (for Gosford Park) and an Emmy (for the TV series Tanner 88).
Born in Kansas City, Altman attended Catholic schools as well as a military academy before enlisting in the Air Force in 1945. After being discharged, Altman tried his hand at acting and writing in both Los Angeles and New York before returning home to Kansas City, where he started making industrial films for the Calvin Company. After numerous false starts, Altman finally made the full move to Hollywood, and in 1957 directed his first theatrical film, The Delinquents. Though it didn't start him on the road to fame, the film was good enough to secure Altman work in television, particularly for Alfred Hitchcock and his Alfred Hitchcock Presents television series. In 1969, Altman was offered the script for MASH, which had been rejected by numerous other filmmakers. The movie, a black comedy set during the Korean War (and a thinly veiled attack on the then-raging Vietnam War), was a rousing commercial and critical success, scoring Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Director and, most famously, inspiring the successful TV sitcom, which took on a very different tone. His films after MASH included the revisionist western McCabe and Mrs. Miller and the updated California noir The Long Goodbye, but it was 1975's Nashville, a multi-layered film centered around the country music capital and the wildly divergent Americans who converged there, that would be his next major success, also receiving Oscar nominations for Best Picture and Director.
After Nashville, Altman more often than not found himself on the opposite end of the spectrum, with films such as the acclaimed but sometimes puzzling 3 Women as well as the commercial flop A Wedding and, most notoriously, the Robin Williams version of Popeye, which was technically a hit but seen as an artistic failure. Altman worked constantly through the '80s - his films included Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean, Streamers, Secret Honor, and Fool for Love - but it wasn't until the HBO series Tanner 88, about a fictional candidate's run for the presidency, that he found favor again. In the early '90s, the one-two punch of The Player (a biting Hollywood satire) and Short Cuts (based on the stories of Raymond Carver) put him back on the map, but he followed those with the less well-received Pret-a-Porter, The Gingerbread Man, and Cookie's Fortune. True to the ups-and-downs of his career, Altman was back on top with Gosford Park, a British-set ensemble film that combined comedy, drama and mystery, and marked his first Best Picture nominee since Nashville. His last films included a revisit to the world of Tanner 88 with Tanner on Tanner, and just this year, A Prairie Home Companion, based on the radio show by Garrison Keillor. Upon receiving his honorary Oscar last year, Altman appeared to be in fine health, but reportedly directed most of A Prairie Home Companion from a wheelchair, with the Altman-influenced director Paul Thomas Anderson on hand.
Altman is survived by his third wife, Kathryn, their two sons, and a daughter and two other sons from two previous marriages. -- Mark Englehart, IMDb staff
|Walker, film, TV composer, dies at 61|
By Chris Morris
Dec 1, 2006
Composer Shirley Walker, who wrote prolifically for film and TV, died Wednesday of complications following a stroke in Reno, Nev. She was 61.
Walker had recently completed work on the feature "Black Christmas" and had scored all three of the "Final Destination" horror series. She won a Daytime Emmy for her work on the animated "Batman" series.
It is believed Walker was the first woman to receive sole composing credit on a Hollywood studio picture, on "Memoirs of an Invisible Woman" in 1992.
According to fellow composer and friend Laura Karpman, Walker was among the few female composers who managed to make her mark in the highly competitive world of Hollywood scoring.
"She's one of a tiny little group, and was the first one to poke through," Karpman said. "She's been an incredible mentor to a lot of men and women in Hollywood. She was an important role model."
Before beginning her film career, Walker was a piano soloist with the San Francisco Symphony. Her first credit was as a synthesizer player on Francis Ford Coppola's "Apocalypse Now." She went on to work as a conductor and orchestrator for Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer, working on such features as "Scrooged," "Batman," "Dick Tracy" and "Edward Scissorhands."
Walker bowed as a composer on the 1982 feature "The End of August." She wrote robust themes for action and superhero series, including "Batman Beyond," "The New Batman Adventures," "Spawn" and "Superman." In 1996, she scored John Carpenter's futuristic action film "Escape From L.A."
She is survived by son Ian and Colin Walker.
|QUOTE (Darryl The Hitman @ Dec 14 2006, 05:42 PM)|
|I won't recall him as either but I'm sorry he's died, all the same.|
|QUOTE (Dark Lord @ Dec 14 2006, 11:32 PM)|
|If you lived in some 3rd World country, I'd forvive you, but seriously dude... :Huh:|
|QUOTE (Dark Lord @ Dec 14 2006, 11:38 PM)|
| I'm more dumbfounded than anything. ^_^ |
I know people who haven't seen Star Wars. Inconcievable! (Or The Princess Bride... ;) )
|LOS ANGELES - Film director Robert Clark, best known for the holiday classic "A Christmas Story," was killed with his son Wednesday in a head-on rash with a vehicle steered into the wrong lane by a drunken driver, police and the filmmaker's assistant said.|
Clark, 67, and son Arial Hanrath-Clark, 22, were killed in the accident in Pacific Palisades, said Lyne Leavy, Clark's personal assistant.
The two men were in an Infiniti taht collided head-on with a GMC Yukon around 2:30 a.m. PDT, said Lt. Paul Vernon, a police spokesman. The driver of the other car was under the influence of alcohol and was driving without a license, Vernon said.
The driver, Hector Velazquez-Nava, 24, of Los Angeles, remained hospitalized and will be booked for investigation of gross vehicular manslaughter after being treated, Vernon said. A female of his car also was taken to the hospital with minor injuries and released, police said.
In Clark's most famous film, all 9-year-old Ralphie Parker wants for Chrismas is an offical Red Ryder carbine-action 200-shot range model air rifle.
His mother, teacher and Santa Claus all warn: "You'll shoot your eye out, kid."
A school bully named Scut Farkus, a leg lamp, a freezing flagpole mishap and some four-letter defiance helped the movie become a seasonal fixture with "It's A Wonderful Life" and "Miracle on 34th Street."
Scott Schwartz, who played Flick in "A Christmas Story" and kept in touch with Clark, called Clark one of the "nicest, sweetest guys that you'd ever want to come in contact with."
"It's a tragic day for all of us who knew and loved Bob Clark," Schwartz said. "Bob was a fun-loving, jelly-roll kind of guy who will be sorely missed."
Clark specialized in horror movies and thrillers early in his career, directing such 1970s flicks as "Children Shouldn't Play With Dead Things," "Murder by Decree," "Breaking Point" and "Black Christmas," which was remade last year.
His breakout success came with 1981's sex farce "Porky's," a coming-of-age romp that he followed two years later with "Porky's II: The Next Day."
In 1983, "A Christmas Story" marked a career high for Clark. Darren McGavin, Melinda Dillon, and Peter Billingsley starred in the adaptation of Jean Shepherd's childhood memoir of a boy in the 1940s.
The film was a modest theatical success, but the critics loved it.