Ennio Morricone, the Italian Oscar winner and composer of musical scores for classic Spaghetti Western films including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and A Fistful of Dollars, has died aged 91.
Morricone had broken his femur some days ago and died of complications in the early hours of Monday at a clinic in Rome, according to Italian news agency ANSA.
Born in the ‘Eternal City’ in 1928, Morricone scored more than 400 films and worked across all film genres — from horror to comedy — in the course of his decades-long career. His soundtracks are among the most famous in the history of cinema.
Morricone came from a musical family, following in the footsteps of his father in first picking up the trumpet. He began writing music at age 6.
He was closely linked to the film director Sergio Leone, whom he first met in primary school. Together they created some of the most famous Spaghetti Westerns including A Fistful of Dollars (1964), For a Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) — starring Clint Eastwood — and Once Upon a Time in the West (1968).
“We will always remember, with infinite gratitude, the artistic genius of maestro Ennio Morricone. He made us dream, excited us, and made us reflect, writing memorable notes that will remain indelible in the history of music and cinema,” Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte tweeted following the announcement of his death.
Morricone won his Oscar for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight in 2015 and was nominated 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).
In 2007, he received an honorary Oscar for his “magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music”. He had collected 11 David di Donatello awards, the highest film awards in Italy, over his career.
Morricone teamed up with film director Giuseppe Tornatore for several works, including Cinema Paradiso (1988), winner of the Oscar for best foreign-language film.
Known as “Il Maestro”, Morricone did not like being labelled as a Spaghetti Western composer as it only represented a small part of his output.
He collaborated with many of the industry’s most celebrated directors including Bernardo Bertolucci (1976’s 1900), Wolfgang Petersen (1993’s In the Line of Fire), Édouard Molinaro (1978’s La Cage aux Folles), John Carpenter (1982’s The Thing), William Friedkin (1987’s Rampage), Warren Beatty (1998’s Bulworth), Pedro Almodóvar (1989’s Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!) and Franco Zeffirelli (1990’s Hamlet).
He composed the theme for the 1981 BBC drama The Life and Times of David Lloyd George and received a Grammy for the score of The Untouchables.
In addition to their work on The Hateful Eight, Mr Tarantino used some of Morricone’s older compositions to score his Kill Bill films, Django Unchained and Inglourious Basterds.
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