Conti in 2008
|Born||April 13, 1942|
Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.
|Genres||Film score, Disco|
William Conti (born April 13, 1942) is an American composer and conductor, best known for his film scores, including Rocky (and four of its sequels), The Karate Kid (and all of its sequels), For Your Eyes Only, Dynasty, and The Right Stuff, which earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Score. He also received nominations in the Best Original Song category for "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky and for the title song of For Your Eyes Only. He was the musical director at the Academy Awards a record nineteen times.
Conti, an Italian American, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, United States, the son of Lucetta and William Conti. He graduated from North Miami High School in 1959. He is a past winner of the Silver Knight Award presented by the Miami Herald. He is a graduate of Louisiana State University, and also studied and gained honors at the Juilliard School of Music, including a master's degree.
As early as 1971, Bill was orchestrating pop recordings by Italian artists, such as the album "Si .. incoerenza" (yes to incoherence) by Italian singer Patty Pravo . Conti's big break into celebrity came in 1976, when United Artists hired him to compose the music for a small film called Rocky. The film became a phenomenon and won three Oscars at the 49th Academy Awards, including Best Picture. The same ceremony was also the first time Conti served as musical director for the telecast, a role he reprised 18 times, more than any other person. His training montage tune, "Gonna Fly Now", topped the Billboard singles chart in 1977, and earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Song.
Conti also worked for some other films and, eventually, for television series. In 1981, he wrote the music for the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, when John Barry was unwilling to return to the United Kingdom for tax reasons, and provided the score for playwright Jason Miller's film version of his Pulitzer Prize winning play That Championship Season the following year.
In 1983, Conti composed the score for HBO's first film, The Terry Fox Story. He then did Bad Boys and Mass Appeal. In 1984, he won an Academy Award for composing the score to 1983's The Right Stuff, after which he wrote for the TV series North and South in 1985. He also scored the Masters of the Universe live action film. Another score was the 1987 movie Happy New Year.
In 1991, Conti composed for Necessary Roughness, a college football movie. In 1993, he wrote the music for The Adventures of Huck Finn starring Elijah Wood and directed by Stephen Sommers. In 1999, he composed the score for The Thomas Crown Affair remake, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. That year, he scored Inferno, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Conti composed the themes to television's Dynasty, The Colbys, Falcon Crest and Cagney & Lacey. He wrote the theme song to the original version of American Gladiators, worked with CBS on its 1980s movie jingle, composed one of the early themes of Inside Edition, and wrote the Primetime Live theme for ABC News. He composed the score to the studio altered American version of Luc Besson's The Big Blue.
Two of Conti's previously-composed works were reused for the show Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. These were the love theme "Come with Me Now" from the soundtrack for Five Days from Home (used for the show's main theme), and "Runaway", from For Your Eyes Only (used for in-show content).
Conti and his wife Shelby have been married since 1965, and together have two daughters, both born around 1970.
Conti has been nominated for three Academy Awards, winning one in the Best Original Score category for The Right Stuff. He also received nominations in the Best Original Song category for "Gonna Fly Now" from Rocky and for the title song of For Your Eyes Only.
Conti also received thirteen Emmy nominations, all but one for his role as musical director at the Academy Awards (the exception, his first nomination, was for his music for the 1985 series North and South). He won five Emmy Awards for Outstanding Musical Direction for the 64th, 70th and 75th Academy Award ceremonies.
On April 22, 2008, at the LSU Union Theatre at Louisiana State University, Conti was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.