Academy Award-winning composer Elmer Bernstein, known for creating some of U.S. film's most recognizable music, died at his California home at age 82.
Bernstein, who won an Oscar in 1967 for the music for Thoroughly Modern Millie and was nominated 14 times for scores including The Man With the Golden Arm and To Kill A Mockingbird, died after a lengthy illness, the composer's publicist, Kathy Moulton, said in Thursday's Los Angeles Times, informs Big News Network.
Mr. Bernstein, who originally intended to be a concert pianist and gave several performances in New York between 1946 and 1950, started writing for films in 1950.
Mr. Bernstein would tell reporters that his method of working was quite straightforward: "I have this thing that if I run the rough cut of the film often enough, over and over again, it will start to talk to me. It will tell me stuff. Eventually, the tone I need will come to me. Then you have something that fits, some sense of integration with the film instead of just slapping some wallpaper at the end."
Elmer Bernstein, who was not related to Leonard Bernstein, was born Aug. 4, 1922, in New York City, the son of Edward and Selma Feinstein Bernstein, who were immigrants from Europe. Early on, he revealed an interest in and talent for serious music, writes The New York Times.
Bernstein wrote the music for more than 200 films and television scores during his career, which spanned more than five decades. He was nominated for an Academy Award 14 times as a composer, and won in 1967 for "Thoroughly Modern Millie." Some of his other nominated scores include "The Man with the Golden Arm," "The Magnificent Seven," "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Far From Heaven."
Bernstein also earned five Grammy Award nominations for "The Age of Innocence," "Ghostbusters" and "Walk on the Wild Side." He is survived by his wife, four children and five grandchildren, tells Billboard.