Jerry Goldsmith - Writer

Composer. Nationality: American. Born: Jerrald Goldsmith in Los Angeles, California, 1929. Education: Attended Dorsey High School; studied piano with Jakob Gimpel at Los Angeles City College, and film music under Miklos Rozsa at University of California, Los Angeles. Family: Son: the composer Joel Goldsmith. Career: 1952—joined CBS as clerk, then radio composer; 1955—composer for TV; composer of theme music and background music for many TV series, and music for TV films and mini-series ( QB VII , 1974, Masada , 1981); 1957—first score for film, Black Patch ; also composer of orchestra and choral works, and conductor. Awards: Academy Award, for The Omen , 1976. Agent: ICM, 8899 Beverly Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90048, U.S.A.

Films as Composer:


Black Patch (Miner)


City of Fear (Lerner)

Jerry Goldsmith
Jerry Goldsmith


Face of a Fugitive (Wendkos)


Studs Lonigan (Lerner)


Lonely Are the Brave (Miller); The Spiral Road (Mulligan); Freud ( Freud: The Secret Passion ) (Huston); A Gathering of Eagles (Delbert Mann)


The List of Adrian Messenger (Huston); The Stripper ( Woman of Summer ) (Schaffner); The Prize (Robson); Lilies of the Field (Nelson); Take Her, She's Mine (Koster); Seven Days in May (Frankenheimer); Fate Is the Hunter (Nelson); Rio Conchos (Douglas)


The Satan Bug (J. Sturges); In Harm's Way (Preminger); Von Ryan's Express (Robson); A Patch of Blue (Green); Morituri ( The Saboteur Code Name "Morituri" ) (Wicki); The Agony and the Ecstasy (Reed) (prologue only, d by Labella); Our Man Flint (Daniel Mann)


The Trouble with Angels (Lupino); Stagecoach (Douglas); The Blue Max (Guillermin); Seconds (Frankenheimer); The Sand Pebbles (Wise); Warning Shot (Kulik)


In Like Flint (Douglas); Hour of the Gun (J. Sturges); The Flim-Flam Man ( One Born Every Minute ) (Kershner); Sebastian (Greene); Planet of the Apes (Schaffner)


The Detective (Douglas); Bandolero! (McLaglen); 100 Rifles (Gries); The Illustrated Man (Smight)


The Most Dangerous Man in the World ( The Chairman ) (Lee Thompson); Justine (Cukor); Patton ( Patton: Lust for Glory ) (Schaffner)


The Ballad of Cable Hogue (Peckinpah); The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart (Horn) (song); Tora! Tora! Tora! (Fleischer, Masuda, and Fukasaku); The Traveling Executioner (Smight); Rio Lobo (Hawks); The Mephisto Waltz (Wendkos); The Brotherhood of the Bell (Wendkos)


Escape from the Planet of the Apes (Taylor); Wild Rovers (Edwards); The Last Run (Fleischer); A Step Out of Line (McEveety); The Homecoming (Cook); Do Not Fold, Spindle, or Mutilate (Post); The Cable Car Murder (Thorpe)


The Culpepper Cattle Company (Richards) (co); The Other (Mulligan); Shamus (Kulik); Crawlspace (Newland); Pursuit (Crichton); The Man (Sargent)


The Red Pony (Totten); Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies (Erman); One Little Indian (McEveety); The Don Is Dead (Fleischer); Papillon (Schaffner); The Police Story ( The Stake-Out ) (Graham); Hawkins on Murder (Taylor)


Chinatown (Polanski); Spys (Kershner) (U.S. version only); Ransom ( The Terrorists ) (Wrede); The Reincarnation of Peter Proud (Lee Thompson); Indict and Convict (Sagal); Winter Kill (Taylor); A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Hardy)


Breakout (Gries); The Wind and the Lion (Milius); Take a Hard Ride (Margheriti); Babe (Kulik); Breakheart Pass (Gries); A Girl Named Sooner (Delbert Mann)


The Omen (Donner); Logan's Run (Anderson); High Velocity (R. Kramer); The Cassandra Crossing (Cosmatos); Islands in the Stream (Schaffner)


Twilight's Last Gleaming (Aldrich); Coma (Crichton); MacArthur (Sargent); Damnation Alley (Smight); Capricorn One (Hyams); Contract on Cherry Street (Graham)


Damien—Omen II (Taylor); The Swarm (I. Allen); The Boys from Brazil (Schaffner); Magic (Attenborough); The First Great Train Robbery ( The Great Train Robbery ) (Crichton)


Alien (Scott); Players (Harvey); Cabo Blanco (Lee Thompson); Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Wise)


Raggedy Man (Fisk); Inchon (Young)


Night Crossing (Delbert Mann); Poltergeist (Hooper); The Challenge (Frankenheimer); The House on Sorority Row ( House of Evil ) (Rosman) (co)


Psycho II (Franklin); Twilight Zone—The Movie (Landis and others); The Salamander (Zinner); Under Fire (Spottiswoode)


Supergirl (Szwarc); Gremlins (Dante); Runaway (Crichton); Baby—Secret of the Lost Legend (Norton); The Lonely Guy (Hiller)


King Solomon's Mines (Lee Thompson); Legend (Scott); Rambo: First Blood, Part II (Cosmatos)


Hoosiers (Anspaugh); Link (Franklin); Explorers (Dante); Poltergeist II (Gibson)


Extreme Prejudice (Hill); Innerspace (Dante); Lionheart (Schaffner); Allan Quatermain and the Lost City of Gold (Nelson and Arnold)


Criminal Law (Campbell); Rambo III (MacDonald); Rent-a-Cop (London)


The Burbs (Dante); Leviathan (Cosmatos); Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (Shatner); Warlock (Miner)


The Russia House (Schepisi); Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Dante); Total Recall (Verhoeven)


Not without My Daughter (Gilbert); Sleeping with the Enemy (Ruben)


Basic Instinct (Verhoeven); Forever Young (Miner); Love Field (Kaplan); Medicine Man (McTiernan); Mom and Dad Save the World (Beeman); Mr. Baseball (Schepisi)


Dennis the Menace (Castle); Malice (H. Becker); Matinee (Dante); Rudy (Anspaugh); Six Degrees of Separation (Schepisi); The Vanishing (Sluizer)


The River Wild (Hanson); IQ (Schepisi); Gunmen (Sarafian); Angie (Coolidge); Bad Girls (Kaplan); Star Trek: The Next Generation—All Good Things (Kolbe—series for TV); The Shadow (Mulcahy)


Star Trek: Voyager—Caretaker (Kolbe—series for TV); Star Trek: Voyager (series for TV) (main title theme); Legend (Balaban and Bole—series for TV); Congo (Marshall); First Knight (Zucker); Powder (Salva)


City Hall (Becker); Executive Decision ( Critical Decision ) (Baird); Chain Reaction (Davis); The Ghost and the Darkness (Hopkins); Star Trek: First Contact (Frakes)


Fierce Creatures (Schepisi and Young); L.A. Confidential (Hanson); Air Force One (Petersen); The Edge (Tamahori); Alien: Resurrection (Jeunet)


Deep Rising (Sommers); U.S. Marshals (Baird); Mulan (Bancroft and Cook—anim); Small Soldiers (Dante); Star Trek: Insurrection (Frakes)


The Mummy (Sommers); The 13th Warrior (McTiernan); The Haunting (de Bont)


The Kid (Turteltaub); The Hollow Man (Verhoeven)

Film as Music Director:


Joaquin Murieta (Bellamy)


By GOLDSMITH: articles—

In Knowing the Score , by Irwin Bazelon, New York, 1975.

Cinema TV Today , 5 July 1975.

Films Illustrated (London), February 1976.

Interview with Elmer Bernstein, in Film Music Notebook (Calabasas, California), vol. 3, no. 1, 1977.

In Film Score , edited by Tony Thomas, South Brunswick, New Jersey, 1979.

Millimeter (New York), April 1979.

Films and Filming (London), May and June 1979.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), Spring 1981.

Cinefantastique (New York), September/October 1982.

New Zealand Film Music Bulletin (Invercargill), August 1985.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), vol. 6, no. 23, September 1987.

Interview with Vincent Jacquet-Françillon, in Cue Sheet (Hollywood), vol. 10, no. 3–4, 1993–1994.

On GOLDSMITH: articles—

Godfrey, Lionel, "The Music Makers: Elmer Bernstein and Jerry Goldsmith," in Films and Filming (London), July 1966.

Focus on Film (London), May/August 1970.

Films in Review (New York), January 1972.

Thomas, Tony, in Music for the Movies , South Brunswick, New Jersey, 1973.

Ecran (Paris), September 1975.

Caps, John, in Film Music Notebook (Calabasas, California), vol. 2, no. 1, 1976.

Focus on Film (London), Summer/Autumn 1976.

Films in Review (New York), October 1976.

Maffet, James D., in Film Music Notebook (Calabasas, California), vol. 3, no. 1, 1977.

Cinema Papers (Melbourne), January 1977.

Films in Review (New York), November 1978.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), April 1979.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), October 1979.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), January 1980.

Films in Review (New York), March 1980.

Score (Lelystad, Netherlands), March 1981.

Fistful of Soundtracks (London), November 1981.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), December 1981.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), June 1982.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), December 1983.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), vol. 4, no. 16, December 1985.

Séquences (Montreal), July 1986.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), vol. 7, no. 28, December 1988.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), vol. 11, June 1992.

Sequences , no. 164, May 1993.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), June 1993.

Mancini, Henry, "Presentation of the SPFM Career Achievement Award to Jerry Goldsmith," in Cue Sheet (Hollywood), vol. 10, no. 3–4, 1993–1994.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), June 1997.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), September 1997.

Cahiers du Cinéma (Paris), December 1997.

Crowdus, Gregory, "Film Music Masters: Jerry Goldsmith," in Cineaste (New York), 1996.

Dutka, Elaine, "Cue the Composer: The Key to Jerry Goldsmith's Long and Prolific Career as a Composer of Film Music? 'I'm a Chameleon,' He Says," in The Los Angeles Times , 1 August 1999.

Woodard, Josef, "Goldsmith Hosts Night of Memorable Movie Themes," in The Los Angeles Times , 9 August 1999.

* * *

The career of Jerry Goldsmith is difficult to classify, either in cinematic or musical terms. One of the most prolific contemporary film composers, Goldsmith has provided scores for works in all genres and drawn on a wide range of musical styles, from the Latin chants provided in The Omen to the atonal approach of Freud and Twilight's Last Gleaming to the Copland-ish Lonely Are the Brave and the avant-garde effects created for Planet of the Apes and Alien . Goldsmith has demonstrated an ability to find the correct sound for each film but his employment of a vast number of musical styles has been more often innovative rather than merely imitative.

As one of a new generation of composers that began to emerge in the 1950s, Goldsmith not surprisingly displayed in his early work for film and television a familiarity with jazz and other contemporary idioms. Nevertheless, he has also demonstrated that he is equally comfortable with a more traditional symphonic approach, and thus he serves as a vital link between the film scoring techniques of the past and the practices of his peers. Unlike composers who have emphasized either discipline, Goldsmith, similar to Bernard Herrmann, has preferred to let the film dictate the musical approach rather than imposing a specific musical style onto the film, and this concern with finding the right approach to complement the image makes him in some respects more indicative of what a film composer should be than many of his colleagues who have shown through their scores the development of a recognizable style regardless of the subject matter.

In addition to the employment of a number of different styles, Goldsmith has also relied on selective instrumentation and use of the score in finding the appropriate sound for a given film. The score for Seconds played off piano against organ to match both the futuristic and lyrically nostalgic aspects of the story, while a specific ensemble was devised for Chinatown which employed several pianos and a solo trumpet. Goldsmith was not the original choice to score Chinatown . He was called in at the last minute to compose a new score in record time when the first composer's score was rejected. Goldsmith's score is so perfectly suited to the film's neo-noir mood, it is difficult to imagine the film scored any other way.

For Planet of the Apes Goldsmith chose to avoid the tendency in the science-fiction subjects toward electronic scoring by creating sound effects through avant-garde employment of a conventional orchestra augmented by percussion effects and devices such as the use of mixing bowls, and the result is an other-worldly sound reminiscent in places of the work of composers such as Bartok. Goldsmith has also been selective about where music is employed in films, providing a deliberately sparse (and consequently more effective) score for Patton and choosing not to provide music in Coma until halfway into the film.

The range of Goldsmith's work can be seen even in his identification with a single filmmaker such as Franklin J. Schaffner. The composer has provided a diversity of musical styles to match Schaffner's diverse number of subjects, from the aforementioned Planet of the Apes and the martial Patton score to the more lyrical Islands in the Stream and Papillon , the Viennese waltz for The Boys from Brazil to the elegant with a touch of strange Lionheart , Schaffner's ill-fated last film which was barely released. Yet, despite this variety many of Goldsmith's works contain trademark devices such as an employment of harsh glissandos during suspense scenes and driving passages founded on an abruptly syncopated style which are balanced off against melodic romantic themes. Although the latter tend at times, as in Coma , toward the maudlin. The latter themes are often recapitulated at the end of the film and many of the scores show a similarity of construction in this closing music with an abrupt punctuation of a few notes serving as the lead-in to the final swelling statement of the main thematic line.

While Goldsmith's early work was often for war films or contemporary espionage dramas, his recent output has often been for science-fiction subjects, the most popular contemporary genre. For many of these he has avoided repeating the approach of the Apes score and has instead sought out different but equally unique approaches, such as the use of horns to create a sense of isolation in Alien . Yet his prolific output has at times resulted in a sameness of approach and it is possible to detect repetition even in works that are seemingly unrelated. For example, a theme in The Great Train Robbery sounds like a modification and reorchestration of the waltz theme in The Boys from Brazil adapted to a new musical idiom. Nevertheless, most of Goldsmith's work reflects his dedication to the blending of sound and image and demonstrates the ability of film music to employ a variety of traditional approaches and even create some new ones.

Although he turned 70 in 1999, Jerry Goldsmith showed no signs of slowing down as the twenty-first century dawned. He scored two films ( The Kid and The Hollow Man ) scheduled for release in 2000, and then contracted for another ( The Shipping News ) due out in 2001.

In celebration of the composer's seventieth birthday, the Los Angeles Philharmonic performed an entire program devoted to his film scores. The performance drew a packed house to the Hollywood Bowl, possibly because of the evening's guest conductor — Jerry Goldsmith.

—Richard R. Ness, updated by John McCarty, further updated by Justin Gustainis

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