By Tribune Staff
NASHVILLE, TN — The legendary Ennio Morricone, an Oscar winner who composed scores for over 50 years and was considered the greatest for Westerns, died early Monday in Rome at 91. It is estimated that he created more than 500 scores for both films and television shows. He’s best known for the scores of what were termed “spaghetti westerns” in the ‘60s. His music for “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and “Once Upon A Time in the West” are deemed classics, while other scores to films like “The Mission” and “Cinema Paradiso” were also highly celebrated and praised.
His death brought a tribute from Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who said on Twitter that “We will always remember, with infinite gratitude, the artistic genius of the Maestro #EnnioMorricone. It made us dream, feel excited, reflect, writing memorable notes that will remain indelible in the history of music and cinema.”
Morricone received six Oscar nominations, but didn’t win one outright until 2015 for Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight.” The list of great directors he worked with included Sergio Leone, Gillo Pontecorvo, Bernardo Bertolucci, Terence Malick, William Friedkin, Roman Polanski, Brian De Palma, Barry Levinson, Mike Nichols and Giuseppe Tornatore. He became only the second composer in Oscar history to receive an honorary award for his work in 2006. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences saluted him for “his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.”
Morricone was a classically trained composer, and personally created everything in his scores. He also creatively utilized everything from bells and electric guitars to choral support, whistling and wordless vocals.