Iconic Italian composer Ennio Morricone dies at 91

The renowned Italian composer, Ennio Morricone, most famous for his film music, died on Sunday at the age of 91. He became a legend with the soundtracks he created for the so-called Spaghetti Westerns of the 1960s, and has composed about 500 scores for film and TV over more than 50 years.

Born in Rome in 1928, Ennio started composing music at age six, and was enrolled at the conservatory when he was 12. He first learned to play the trumpet, and later studied composition, graduating in two instead of the usual four years. The young musician played the trumpet in jazz clubs, then landed jobs with theatres and in the record industry. Finally the RAI Televisione TV broadcaster employed him to arrange songs for, among others, Mario Lanza, the tenor whose roles in Hollywood movies made him famous worldwide in the 1950s.

Ennio Morricone, strapped for cash, thought writing film music might be a good idea, but he refused to apply for a job in the film industry. "I felt a filmmaker should ask me because he liked what I write," he once said, and that is exactly what happened.

In 1961, the 33-year-old wrote the soundtrack for an entire film for the first time: Luciano Salce's Il Federale. His international breakthrough followed three years later, with his world-famous soundtrack for Sergio Leone's For a Fistful of Dollars starring Clint Eastwood. Morricone also wrote the music for the 1966 The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and two years later, Once Upon a Time in the West.

Among the films, which music is composed by Morricone are also among many others Roman Polanski's Frantic, John Carpenter's The Thing, Brian de Palma's All the President's Men, Bernardo Bertolucci's 1900, Roland Joffe's Mission, Giuseppe Tornatore's Cinema Paradiso, Henri Verneuil's The Sicilian Clan, and Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill, Inglorious Basterds and Django Unchained. 

Over the years, he had been nominated for an Oscar five times, but always went home empty-handed, except for an honorary Oscar in 2007 for his life's work. This changed in 2016, when he got the Academy Award for Best Original score, for Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.

Similar articles