Sad news today, as the prolific Italian composer, Ennio Morricone, has passed away at the age of 91. The Oscar-winning musician, who, during his career has scored more than 400 movies and television shows, died on Monday the 6th of July at the Campus Bio-Medico in Rome. His death comes a week after suffering a fall in which he broke his femur, with his passing was confirmed by his lawyer, Giorgio Assumma.
Born in 1928, Morricone began his career as a trumpet player before turning to film composition in 1961, with the composer going on to create music for more than 70 award-winning movies. Morricone is renowned for scoring the spaghetti Westerns of legendary director Sergio Leone, and as a result, has become synonymous with the Western genre.
"The music is indispensable, because my films could practically be silent movies, the dialogue counts for relatively little, and so the music underlines actions and feelings more than the dialogue," Leone, who died in 1989, once said of Morricone's importance. "I've had him write the music before shooting, really as a part of the screenplay itself."
Morricone, whose father, Mario, was a trumpet player, began writing music at age 6. He would first meet Leone in elementary school, though the two would not meet again for more than two decades. The pair would go on to create several masterpieces of the genre, with Morricone scoring the likes of A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) (all of which also star Clint Eastwood), as well as Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) and Duck, You Sucker (1971).
Whilst the "spaghetti Western" remains Morricone's most-recognized works, the composer himself did not approve the term and noted that his work in that genre represented just a fraction of his career. A quick look at Morricone's body of work makes this clear, as the brilliant composer's back catalog includes collaborations with other notable directors on such as classic movies as, Gillo Pontecorvo in 1966's The Battle of Algiers, Don Siegel in 1970's Two Mules for Sister Sara, Bernardo Bertolucci in 1976's 1900, John Boorman in 1977's Exorcist II: The Heretic, Edouard Molinaro in 1978's La Cage aux Folles, John Carpenter in 1982's The Thing, William Friedkin in 1987's Rampage, Brian De Palma in 1987's The Untouchables, Pedro Almodovar in 1989's Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!, Franco Zeffirelli in 1990's Hamlet, Wolfgang Petersen in 1993's In the Line of Fire, Mike Nichols in 1994's Wolf and Warren Beatty in 1998's Bulworth.
In recent years, Morricone returned to the Western genre, scoring Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight back in 2015. His haunting, inventive score would win him his first Oscar, with the composer having been nominated several times before for his original scores for Terrence Malick's Days of Heaven (1978), Roland Joffe's The Mission (1986), Brian De Palma's The Untouchables (1987), Barry Levinson's Bugsy (1991) and Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena (2000). May the maestro rest in peace. This sad news comes to us from The Hollywood Reporter.