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Jerry Goldsmith Biography

Home > Music > G > Goldsmith, Jerry > Biography

Born: 1929/02/10
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California
Genres: Cast Recordings/Cabaret, Pop, Soundtracks

Jerrald King Goldsmith was born on February 10, 1929 in Los Angeles, California and was a world-famous composer and conductor known for his feature film musical scores, such as “Planet of the Apes,” “The Omen,” “Alien,” “Poltergeist,” “Gremlins,” “Total Recall,” “L.A. Confidential,” “The Mummy,” The “Rambo” films, and five “Star Trek” films. Goldsmith has been nominated for six Grammy Awards, nine Golden Globes, four BAFTAs, and seventeen Academy Awards. 1977 saw Goldsmith pick up his first Oscar for “The Omen.” Throughout his career, Goldsmith has worked with some of the most famous directors in film history, including Roman Polanski, Ridley Scott and Steven Spielberg.

Goldsmith was drawn to music from an early age and began playing the piano at age six; at age thirteen he began to study with concert pianist and educator Jakob Gimpel, and by the time he was sixteen, Goldsmith was studying with the Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Goldsmith got his start in the music industry with a job at the CBS studios in the music department. In 1950, Goldsmith began writing scores for the CBS Radio Workshops: Frontier Gentleman, and Romance. This work led to scoring live television shows, such as Climax! and Playhouse 90. From there, Goldsmith began to score for the hit television series, “The Twilight Zone.” After a decade of work at CBS, Goldsmith moved on to Revue Studios in 1960, where he composed music for the television shows: “Dr. Kildare” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” Goldsmith's feature film debut arrived with the western “Black Patch” in 1957.

Goldsmith reputation began to spread and he was soon in demand as a musical composer for both television and feature films. As the 1960s progressed, Goldsmith came to the attention of Universal Pictures’ music department, and composed the score to the pseudo-biopic “Freud” in 1962, which went on to garner him his first Academy Award nomination for 'Best Original Score.' Goldsmith's scores to the feature films, “A Patch of Blue” and “The Sand Pebbles” garnered him his second and third Oscar nominations. As the 1970s ensued, Goldsmith continued on his path of success as he began scoring the world famous series of “Planet of the Apes.” The score went on to earn Goldsmith another Oscar nomination for 'Best Original Score.' Goldsmith earned more critical praise with his score to the feature film, “The Wind and the Lion” in 1975, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for 'Best Original Score.'

For the next 30 years, Goldsmith would continue to compose score after score, creating landmark pieces of work with innovation and creativity. As the 1970s came to an end Ridley Scott's epic “Alien” earned Goldsmith a Golden Globe nomination for 'Best Original Score.' Goldsmith quickly followed up with another epic score for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” in 1979. His score for the film generated nominations for the Academy Awards and the Golden Globes. Throughout the 1980s, Goldsmith found himself predominately scoring science fiction and fantasy films in wake of the success from “Star Wars” (1977), The Omen sequels “Damien: Omen II” (1978) and “Omen III: The Final Conflict” (1981), “Outland” (1981), “The Secret of NIMH” (1982), and the “Twilight Zone: The Movie” (1983). 1982 saw Goldsmith take on new heights collaborating with Steven Spielberg on the massive hit, “Poltergeist.” Goldsmith followed up with “First Blood” (1982).

1990 saw Goldsmith score the romantic drama “The Russia House,” which featured a unique mixture of Russian music and jazz and met with critical acclaim. 1992 brought the score for the psychological thriller “Basic Instinct,” and saw Goldsmith fuse orchestral and electronic elements in a unique sound that garnered him another Academy Award nomination, and a Golden Globe nomination. 1997 marked the jazzy score for the critically acclaimed crime drama “L.A. Confidential,” which garnered Goldsmith multiple nominations for the Oscars and the Golden Globes. Goldsmith concluded the decade with the successful scores “The Mummy” (1999) and “The Haunting” (1999). Goldsmith's final theatrical score, “Looney Tunes: Back in Action” (2003), was composed while his health was declining. Goldsmith died in 2004.