Ennio Morricone, one of the most iconic film composers of all time, has died at the age of 91. Morricone rose to prominence in the 1960s with his timeless and memorable scores for Sergio Leone’s ‘spaghetti westerns’ starring Clint Eastwood. His music for A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly remains some of the most effective scoring work in cinematic history and even a tiny excerpt from them is instantly recognizable.
But Morricone was by no means limited to Westerns. Over his long career, he went on to provide scores for projects as varied as John Carpenter’s The Thing, Brian de Palma’s The Untouchables and Barry Levinson’s Bugsy. One of his most famous collaborations in recent years was with Quentin Tarantino, with Morricone’s music being featured in Kill Bill Volumes 1 & 2, Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Morricone’s final major work was the original score for Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, for which he won multiple awards, including an Oscar, a BAFTA and a Golden Globe.
Morricone’s death was confirmed by his lawyer Giorgio Assumma, who released a statement saying that the composer died with “lucidity and great dignity”:
“He said goodbye to his beloved wife Maria, who accompanied him with dedication in every moment of his human and professional life and was close to him until his final breath, and thanked his children and grandchildren for the love and care they have given him. He gave a touching remembrance to his audience, whose affectionate support always enabled him to draw strength for his creativity.”
The world of entertainment has begun paying tribute to him as well, with The Dark Knight and Man of Steel composer Hans Zimmer saying:
“I am devastated by this news, because Ennio was an icon and icons just don’t go away, icons are forever. It really has taken me by surprise as he was still touring. I saw him about a year ago. He seemed strong. He was conducting at the O2. … He was a major influence on me. The first movie I ever saw was Once Upon A Time In The West. I heard the music and saw those images and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do’.”
“Where to even begin with iconic composer Ennio Morricone? He could make an average movie into a must see, a good movie into art, and a great movie into legend. He hasn’t been off my stereo my entire life. What a legacy of work he leaves behind. RIP.”
Proving that his contributions weren’t limited to the world of film, video game icon Hideo Kojima (who made prominent use of his music in Metal Gear Solid: Ground Zeroes), said he was “shocked to know Ennio Morricone has passed away.. RIP.” Post-punk band New Order also released a statement saying: “His music introduced me to albums and the first album I ever bought was one of his. He made beautiful emotional music and was the master of melody.”
RIP Ennio Morricone 1928-2020.