Goldsmith conducts the London Symphony Orchestra, 2003
|Jerrald King Goldsmith|
February 10, 1929|
Los Angeles, California, United States
July 21, 2004 (aged 75)|
Beverly Hills, California, United States
|Genres||Film score, contemporary classical music|
Jerrald King Goldsmith (February 10, 1929 – July 21, 2004) was an American composer and conductor most known for his work in film and television scoring. He composed scores for such films as Star Trek: The Motion Picture and four other films within the Star Trek franchise, The Sand Pebbles, Logan's Run, Planet of the Apes, Patton, Papillon, Chinatown, The Wind and the Lion, The Omen, The Boys from Brazil, Capricorn One, Alien, Outland, Poltergeist, The Secret of NIMH, Gremlins, Hoosiers, Total Recall, Basic Instinct, Rudy, Air Force One, L.A. Confidential, Mulan, The Mummy, three Rambo films, and Explorers.
He collaborated with some of film history's most accomplished directors, including Robert Wise, Howard Hawks, Otto Preminger, Joe Dante, Richard Donner, Roman Polanski, Ridley Scott, Michael Winner, Steven Spielberg, Paul Verhoeven, and Franklin J. Schaffner. His work for Donner and Scott also involved a rejected score for Timeline and a controversially edited score for Alien, where music by Howard Hanson replaced Goldsmith's end titles and Goldsmith's own work on Freud: The Secret Passion was used without his approval in several scenes.
Goldsmith was nominated for six Grammy Awards, five Primetime Emmy Awards, nine Golden Globe Awards, four British Academy Film Awards, and eighteen Academy Awards (he won only one, in 1976, for The Omen).
Goldsmith, was born February 10, 1929, in Los Angeles, California. His family was Jewish. His parents were Tessa (née Rappaport), a school teacher, and Morris Goldsmith, a structural engineer. He started playing piano at age six, but only "got serious" by the time he was eleven. At age thirteen, he studied piano privately with concert pianist and educator Jakob Gimpel (whom Goldsmith would later employ to perform piano solos in his score to The Mephisto Waltz) and by the age of sixteen he was studying both theory and counterpoint under Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, who also tutored such noteworthy composers and musicians as Henry Mancini, Nelson Riddle, Herman Stein, André Previn, Marty Paich, and John Williams.
At age sixteen, Goldsmith saw the 1945 film Spellbound in theaters and was inspired by veteran composer Miklós Rózsa's soundtrack to pursue a career in music. Goldsmith later enrolled and attended the University of Southern California where he was able to attend courses by Rózsa, but dropped out in favor of a more "practical music program" at the Los Angeles City College. There he was able to coach singers, work as an assistant choral director, play piano accompaniment, and work as an assistant conductor.
In 1950, Goldsmith found work at CBS as a clerk typist in the network's music department under director Lud Gluskin. There he began writing scores for such radio shows as CBS Radio Workshop, Frontier Gentleman, and Romance. In an interview with Andy Velez from BarnesandNoble.com, Goldsmith stated, "It was about 1950. CBS had a workshop, and once a week the employees, whatever their talents, whether they were ushers or typists, would produce a radio show. But you had to be an employee. They needed someone to do music, and I knew someone there who said I'd be great for this. I'd just gotten married and needed a job, so they faked a typing test for me. Then I could do these shows. About six months later, the music department heard what I did, liked it, and gave me a job." He later progressed into scoring such live CBS television shows as Climax! and Playhouse 90. He also scored multiple episodes of the television series The Twilight Zone. He remained at CBS until 1960, after which he moved on to Revue Studios and then to MGM Studios for producer Norman Felton, whom he had worked for during live television and would later compose music for such television shows as Dr. Kildare and The Man from U.N.C.L.E..
His feature film debut occurred when he composed the music to the 1957 western Black Patch. He continued with scores to such films as the 1957 western Face of a Fugitive and the 1959 science fiction film City of Fear.
Jerry Goldsmith began the decade composing for such television shows as Dr. Kildare and Thriller as well as the 1960 drama film The Spiral Road. However, he only began receiving widespread name recognition after his intimate score to the 1962 classic western Lonely Are the Brave. His involvement in the picture was the result of a recommendation by veteran composer Alfred Newman who had been impressed with Goldsmith's score on the television show Thriller and took it upon himself to recommend Goldsmith to the head of Universal Pictures' music department, despite having never met him. That same year, Goldsmith composed the mostly atonal and dissonant score to the 1962 pseudo-biopic Freud that focused on a five-year period of the life of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud. Goldsmith's score went on to garner him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score, though he lost to fellow first-time nominee Maurice Jarre for his music to Lawrence of Arabia (1962). In 1963, Goldsmith composed a score to The Stripper, his first collaboration with director Franklin J. Schaffner for whom Goldsmith would later score the films Planet of the Apes (1968), Patton (1970), Papillon (1973), and The Boys from Brazil (1978).
Following his success with Lonely Are the Brave and Freud, Goldsmith went on to achieve even more critical recognition with the theme music to The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (1964), and scores to such films as the 1964 western Rio Conchos, the 1964 political thriller Seven Days in May, the 1965 romantic drama A Patch of Blue, the 1965 epic war film In Harm's Way (in which Goldsmith also made a brief cameo appearance), the 1966 World War I air combat film The Blue Max, the 1966 period naval war epic The Sand Pebbles, the 1967 thriller Warning Shot, the 1967 western Hour of the Gun, and the 1968 controversial mystery The Detective. His score for The Blue Max is regarded by many Goldsmith aficionados as one of the very best scores he wrote during his long and distinguished career. He almost didn't accept the assignment when he watched the final cut with the producers who had temp-tracked it with Richard Strauss's Also Sprach Zarathustra. He said, "I admit it worked fairly well but my first reaction was to get up and walk away from the job, but I couldn't. Once you've heard music like that with the picture, it makes your own scoring more difficult to arrive at, it clouds your thinking." Nonetheless, what resulted was breathtaking and the main theme captures the fear and joy of flight many times throughout the film. It is curious that films with significant sequences that involve flight inspired Goldsmith to write some of his most exhilarating music, such as in Supergirl, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, A Gathering of Eagles, Night Crossing, Air Force One and Tora! Tora! Tora!. Goldsmith's scores to A Patch of Blue and The Sand Pebbles garnered him his second and third Academy Award nominations, respectively, and were both one of the 250 nominees for the American Film Institute's top twenty-five American film scores. His scores for Seven Days in May and The Sand Pebbles also garnered Goldsmith his first two respective Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Original Score in 1965 and 1967. During this time, he also composed for many lighter, comedic films such as the family comedy The Trouble with Angels (1966), the James Bond parodies Our Man Flint (1966) and its sequel In Like Flint (1967), and the comedy The Flim-Flam Man (1967).
In 1968, Goldsmith caught massive critical attention with his landmark, controversial soundtrack to the post-apocalyptic science fiction epic Planet of the Apes, which was one of the first film scores to be written entirely in an Avant garde style. When scoring Planet of the Apes, Goldsmith used such innovative techniques as looping drums into an echoplex, using the orchestra to imitate the grunting sounds of apes, having horns blown without mouthpieces, and instructing the woodwind players to finger their keys without using any air. He also used steel mixing bowls, among other objects, to create unique percussive sounds. The score went on to garner Goldsmith another Oscar nomination for Best Original Score and now ranks in No. 18 on the American Film Institute's top twenty-five American film scores. Though he did not return to compose for its 1970 sequel Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Goldsmith scored the third installment in the Planet of the Apes franchise, 1971's Escape from the Planet of the Apes.
Goldsmith concluded the decade with scores to such films as the 1968 western Bandolero!, the 1969 spy thriller The Chairman, the 1969 science fiction film The Illustrated Man, and the 1969 western 100 Rifles. In 1969, he also composed the theme to the comedy-drama television series Room 222.
Goldsmith received more critical praise with his daring music to the 1970 World War II biopic Patton. Throughout the score, Goldsmith used an echoplex to loop recorded sounds of "call to war" triplets played on the trumpet that musically represented General George S. Patton's belief in reincarnation. The main theme also consisted of a symphonic march accompanied by a pipe organ to represent the protagonist's militaristic yet deeply religious nature. The film's music subsequently earned Goldsmith an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score and was one of the American Film Institute's 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores. Goldsmith's critical success continued with his emotional score to the 1973 prison escape film Papillon, which also earned him an Academy Award nomination and a nomination as one of the AFI's top twenty-five American film scores. In 1973, Goldsmith also wrote the theme for the TV series Barnaby Jones.
In 1974, Goldsmith was faced with the daunting task of replacing a score by composer Phillip Lambro to the neo-film noir Chinatown. With only ten days to compose and record an entirely new score, Goldsmith quickly produced a score that mixed an eastern music sound with elements of jazz in an ensemble that only featured a trumpet, four pianos, four harps, two percussionists, and a string section. Goldsmith received an Academy Award nomination for his efforts though he lost to Nino Rota and Carmine Coppola for The Godfather Part II. The score to Chinatown is often regarded as one of the greatest scores of all time and ranks No. 9 on the AFI's list of top 25 American film scores. It was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.
Goldsmith earned further critical praise with his score to the 1975 epic period adventure film The Wind and the Lion, which, true to the style of such Golden Age scores as Maurice Jarre's Lawrence of Arabia, relied upon a diverse ensemble including many Moroccan instruments and a large percussion section. The score garnered Goldsmith an Oscar nomination for Best Original Score, though he lost to fellow composer John Williams for his score to Jaws. The Wind and the Lion was also one of the AFI's 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores.
In 1976, Goldsmith composed a dark choral score to the horror film The Omen, which was the first film score to feature the use of a choir in an avant-garde style. The score was successful among critics and garnered Goldsmith his only Academy Award for Best Original Score and a nomination for Best Original Song for "Ave Satani". It was also one of the AFI's 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores. His wife, Carol Heather Goldsmith, also wrote lyrics and performed a vocal track titled "The Piper Dreams" released solely on the soundtrack album. Goldsmith would go on to compose for two more entries in the franchise; Damien: Omen II (1978) and Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981).
He continued to have critical success with scores to such films as the 1976 dystopian science fiction Logan's Run, the 1977 period drama Islands in the Stream (which remained one of his personal favorites), the 1978 science fiction suspense Coma, the 1978 science fiction thriller Capricorn One, the 1978 disaster film The Swarm, the 1979 period comedy The Great Train Robbery, and his Academy Award-nominated score to the 1978 science fiction thriller The Boys from Brazil, in which he utilized lively waltzes to juxtapose the film's horrific concept, cloning Adolf Hitler.
In 1979, Goldsmith composed a score to the landmark science fiction film Alien. His score featured an orchestra augmented by a shofar, didgeridoo, steel drum, and serpent (a 16th-century instrument), while creating further "alien" sounds by delaying string pizzicati through an echoplex. Many of the instruments were used in such atypical ways they were virtually unidentifiable. His score was, however, heavily edited during post-production and Goldsmith was required to rewrite music for several scenes. The final score resulted in several pieces being moved, replaced, or cut entirely. Director Ridley Scott and editor Terry Rawlings also, without Goldsmith's consent, purchased the rights to the "Main Title" from Freud (1962) which they used during the acid blood sequence. Despite the heavy edits and rewrites, Goldsmith's score for the film earned him a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Score and was one of the AFI's 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores. Scott would later prominently reuse Goldsmith's main theme in Alien: Covenant, released in 2017, scored by Australian musician Jed Kurzel.
That same year, Goldsmith concluded the decade composing what is widely considered his most recognized score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Having been Gene Roddenberry's initial choice to compose the original Star Trek pilot "The Cage" yet being unable to do so due to scheduling conflicts, Goldsmith was the first pick of both Paramount Pictures and director Robert Wise to compose a score for The Motion Picture. Faced with composing a new Star Trek theme for the film, Goldsmith initially struggled for inspiration, and proceeded to compose as much of the score as possible before the need to develop the main title theme. His initial score for the scene in which the newly-refit Starship Enterprise is revealed to the audience was not well received by the filmmakers, director Robert Wise feeling that it lacked a strong thematic hook and evoked sailing ships. Though somewhat irked by its rejection, Goldsmith consented to re-work his initial idea and finally arrived at the Star Trek theme which was ultimately used. The film's soundtrack also provided a debut for the Blaster Beam, an electronic instrument 12 to 15 feet (3.7 to 4.6 m) long, created by musician Craig Huxley. The Blaster had steel wires connected to amplifiers fitted to the main piece of aluminum; the device was played with an artillery shell. Goldsmith heard it and immediately decided to use it for V'Ger's cues. An enormous pipe organ first plays the V'Ger theme on the Enterprises approach, a literal indication of the machine's power. His score for The Motion Picture earned him Academy Award and Golden Globe Award nominations, and was one of the AFI's 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores. Goldsmith would later compose the scores for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), as well as the theme to the television series Star Trek: Voyager in 1995. In addition, his theme for The Motion Picture, as arranged by Dennis McCarthy, was reused as the theme for Star Trek: The Next Generation in 1987.
Throughout the 1980s, Goldsmith found himself increasingly scoring science fiction and fantasy films in the ongoing wake of the successful 1977 film Star Wars, composing for such films as The Omen sequels Damien: Omen II (1978) and Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981), 1981 space western Outland, 1982 animated fantasy The Secret of NIMH, and the movie version of Twilight Zone: The Movie, which he composed in four different styles to accompany the film's four stories.
In 1982, Goldsmith was hired to compose the music to the classic Tobe Hooper-directed, Steven Spielberg-produced horror film Poltergeist. He wrote several themes for the film including a gentle lullaby for the protagonist Carol Anne and her family's suburban life, a semi-religious theme for scenes concerning the souls trapped between the two worlds, and bombastic atonal bursts during scenes of horror. The film's score garnered him an Oscar nomination, though he lost again to fellow composer John Williams for Spielberg's E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. Goldsmith later returned in 1986 to compose the more synthetic score to Poltergeist II, the first of two sequels.
He did, however, still manage to compose for such non-fantasy productions as the 1981 period television miniseries Masada (for which he won an Emmy Award), the controversial 1982 war film Inchon, the 1982 action classic First Blood, and his Oscar- and Golden Globe Award-nominated score to 1983 political drama Under Fire in which he used the ethnic sounds of a South American pan flute, synthetic elements, and the prominently featured solo work of jazz guitarist Pat Metheny.
Throughout the decade, many of his compositions became increasingly laced with synthetic elements such as his scores for the 1983 horror sequel Psycho II, the 1984 comedy horror film Gremlins (for which he won a Saturn Award for Best Music), the 1984 fantasy superhero adaptation Supergirl, Ridley Scott fantasy Legend (initially heard only in European prints and then years later in a 2002 director's cut), 1985 action sequel Rambo: First Blood Part II, 1985 family fantasy Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend, and 1986 horror movie Poltergeist II. He garnered another Oscar nomination for his innovative, critically acclaimed score to 1986 sports drama Hoosiers, though he lost to Herbie Hancock for Round Midnight. The score incorporates synthesizers, orchestra, and the recorded sounds of basketball hits on a gymnasium floor.
During the 1980s, Goldsmith scored the Michael Crichton film, Runaway, the composer's first all-electronic score. In an interview with Keyboard Magazine in 1984, Goldsmith said that in order to simulate the ambiance of a real orchestra, several speakers were set up in an actual orchestra hall similar to how they would be arranged if they were live players. The playback was re-recorded to capture the feel of the hall.
Goldsmith finished out the decade with noteworthy scores to such films as the 1985 science-fiction fantasy family film Explorers, 1987 medieval adventure Lionheart, the 1987 science fiction comedy Innerspace, the 1988 action film Rambo III, the 1989 science fiction horror Leviathan, and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), his second Star Trek film score. Goldsmith's score to Leviathan (1989) incorporated the use of recorded whale sounds during the main titles. His critically acclaimed comedy score to The 'Burbs (1989) is also noteworthy for the use of pipe organ, recorded dog barking sound effects, and for parodying the trumpet "call to war" triplets on an echoplex from his previous score to Patton (1970).
In 1990, Jerry Goldsmith received critical acclaim for his score to the romantic drama The Russia House, which featured a unique mixture of Russian music and jazz to complement the nationalities and characteristics of the two main characters. He also composed critically acclaimed music for the 1990 science fiction action film Total Recall, which Goldsmith later regarded as one of his best scores. Other noteworthy scores of the era include Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) (in which Goldsmith also made a brief cameo appearance), the 1991 psychological thriller Sleeping with the Enemy, the 1991 family comedy Mom and Dad Save the World, the 1992 fantasy romance Forever Young, the 1993 thriller The Vanishing, and the 1993 family comedy Dennis the Menace. In 1992, Goldsmith also composed a critically acclaimed score for the medical drama Medicine Man. In concert, Goldsmith would later recount a story of how actor Sean Connery copied Goldsmith's signature ponytail hairstyle for his character Robert Campbell in the film.
In 1992, Goldsmith composed and conducted a score to the erotic thriller Basic Instinct. The soundtrack, an unsettling hybrid of orchestral and electronic elements, garnered him another Oscar nomination as well as a Golden Globe Award nomination and was later regarded by the composer as one of his most challenging works. In 1993, Goldsmith also wrote an acclaimed score for the classic sports film Rudy, which has since been used in the trailers for numerous films including Angels in the Outfield (1994), Good Will Hunting (1997), Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002), and Seabiscuit (2003). It was also heard on the TV spot of "The Little Vampire" (2000) and an Arnold Schwarzenegger fitness advert.
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Goldsmith composed acclaimed scores for such films as the 1994 superhero adaptation The Shadow, the 1994 thriller The River Wild, the 1994 romantic comedy I.Q., the 1995 action film Congo, the 1995 fantasy adventure First Knight, the 1995 science fiction drama Powder, the 1996 action film Executive Decision, and his third Star Trek film installment Star Trek: First Contact (1996) which he composed with his son Joel Goldsmith. In 1995, Goldsmith also composed the theme for the UPN series Star Trek: Voyager for which he won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Title Theme Music.
In 1996, Goldsmith composed the critically successful score to the horror action film The Ghost and the Darkness which featured a traditional Irish folk melody interwoven with African rhythms. In 1997, he was hired to replace a score by Randy Newman for Air Force One. Goldsmith, with the assistance of composer Joel McNeely, completed the brassy, heroic score in only twelve days. In 1997, Goldsmith also composed a percussive, jazzy score for the critically acclaimed crime drama L.A. Confidential. His score garnered him Oscar and Golden Globe Award nominations, and was also one of the AFI's 250 nominees for the top twenty-five American film scores.
In 1997, he composed a new theme for the Universal Studios opening logo, first heard in The Lost World: Jurassic Park. He also continued with scores for such films as the 1997 survival drama The Edge, his fourth Star Trek film installment in 1998, Star Trek: Insurrection, the 1998 science fiction horror Deep Rising, and the 1998 action thriller U.S. Marshals. In 1998, he also composed a score of combined Eastern, orchestral, and synthetic elements for the Disney-animated film Mulan, which subsequently earned him his final Oscar and Golden Globe Award nominations along with songwriter Matthew Wilder and lyricist David Zippel.
Goldsmith concluded the decade with critically successful scores to such popular films as the 1998 science fiction, fantasy, action film Small Soldiers, his penultimate Star Trek film Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), the 1999 action adventure horror The Mummy, the 1999 horror film The Haunting, and the 1999 action adventure The 13th Warrior. In 1999, he also composed "Fanfare for Oscar" for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
During the early 2000s, Goldsmith composed scores to the 2000 science fiction thriller Hollow Man, the 2001 mystery film Along Came a Spider, the 2001 drama The Last Castle, the 2002 action/political thriller The Sum of All Fears, and his last Star Trek film Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). Goldsmith had composed the scores to five of the first ten Star Trek movies up to that point. Goldsmith also composed an original score to the simulator attraction Soarin' Over California which debuted 8 February 2001 at the Disneyland Resort, and the same attraction Soarin' which opened 5 May 2005 in Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort. It was later said that when Goldsmith first rode the ride, he left in tears and said, "I'd do anything to be part of this project. I'd even score the film for free."
Goldsmith's final cinematic score, composed during declining health, was the critically acclaimed music for the 2003 live action/animated film Looney Tunes: Back in Action, directed by long-time Goldsmith collaborator Joe Dante. His last work was with another long-time collaborator, Richard Donner (for whom Goldsmith had scored The Omen in 1976), on the 2003 science fiction film Timeline. However, due to a complicated post-production process, Goldsmith's score had to be replaced. Goldsmith's score was for the preliminary cuts. But the score didn't fit the later cuts of the film and had to be re-scored. Goldsmith's unavailability led to composer Brian Tyler taking over. Goldsmith's unused score was later released on CD, 7 September 2004 through Varèse Sarabande, not long after his death in 2004. The album quickly became out of print and has since become a sought rarity among soundtrack collectors.
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Goldsmith was married twice. He was first married to Sharon Hennagin in 1950; they divorced in 1970. He married Carol Heather in 1972, and the couple remained together until his death in 2004. His oldest son Joel Goldsmith (1957-2012) was also a composer and collaborated with his father on the score for Star Trek: First Contact, composing approximately twenty-two minutes of the score. Jerry Goldsmith also conducted Joel's theme for The Untouchables and composed the theme for the pilot Hollister, scored by Joel. Goldsmith's daughter, Carrie Goldsmith, went to high school with famed Titanic composer James Horner, who also composed music for Star Trek's second and third films: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Carrie Goldsmith was working on a biography of her father, though the book has been suspended indefinitely for unspecified reasons.
Goldsmith died at his Beverly Hills home on July 21, 2004, from colon cancer at the age of 75. He was survived by his wife Carol and his children Aaron, Joel (who also died from cancer on April 29, 2012), Carrie, Ellen Edson, and Jennifer Grossman.
Goldsmith was greatly influenced by movements of early 20th-century classical music, notably modernism, Americana, impressionism, dodecaphonism, and early film scores. He has cited Igor Stravinsky, Aaron Copland, Miklós Rózsa, Bernard Herrmann, Béla Bartók, and Alban Berg, among others, as some of the main influences to his style of composition.
His style has been noted for its unique instrumentation, utilizing a vast array of ethnic instruments, recorded sounds, synthetic textures, and the traditional orchestra, often concurrently. When asked about his inclination for embracing new techniques and constantly shifting his musical palette throughout his career, Goldsmith said, "It seems like it's me, and that's that! Certain composers are doing the same thing over and over again, which I feel is sort of uninteresting. I don't find that you grow very much in that way. I like to keep changing, trying to do new things. Basically, I'm saying the same thing with a little different twist on it. Once you get caught up in the creative process, something inside takes over, and your subconscious just does it for you."
One reason for the consistency of Goldsmith's aural resonance and signature sound is his long time professional association with orchestrator Arthur Morton. Their first collaboration was on the film, Take Her She's Mine. In 1965, Goldsmith was tapped to score the features, Von Ryan's Express and Morituri. He recruited Morton to serve as his orchestrator. Their bond for a unique and expressive sound was borne, and their friendship flourished. Goldsmith went on to compose the soundtracks for Our Man Flint, The Trouble with Angels (with Frank De Vol), The Blue Max, The Sand Pebbles, and Stagecoach, all in 1966. Morton was there providing his orchestration services, assisting Goldsmith in attaining his visionary sounds. Their partnership endured for over 30 years and included the notable scores for Planet of the Apes (1968), Patton (1970), Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), Papillon (1973), Chinatown (1974), The Omen (1976), MacArthur (1977), Capricorn One (1978), Alien (1979), Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), Poltergeist (1982), First Blood (1982), Under Fire (1983), The Russia House (1990). The final score that Arthur Morton orchestrated for Goldsmith was L.A. Confidential (1997).
Jerry Goldsmith has often been considered one of film music history's most innovative and influential composers. While presenting Goldsmith with a Career Achievement Award from the Society for the Preservation of Film Music in 1993, fellow composer Henry Mancini (Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Pink Panther) said of Goldsmith, "... he has instilled two things in his colleagues in this town. One thing he does, he keeps us honest. And the second one is he scares the hell out of us." In his review of the 1999 re-issue of the Star Trek: The Motion Picture soundtrack, Bruce Eder highly praised Goldsmith's ability, stating, "...one of the new tracks, 'Spock's Arrival,' may be the closest that Goldsmith has ever come to writing serious music in a pure Romantic idiom; this could have been the work of Rimsky-Korsakov or Stravinsky -- it's that good." In a 2001 interview, film composer Marco Beltrami (3:10 to Yuma, The Hurt Locker) stated, "Without Jerry, film music would probably be in a different place than it is now. I think he, more than any other composer bridged the gap between the old Hollywood scoring style and the the [sic] modern film composer."
In 2006, upon composing The Omen (a remake of the Goldsmith-scored 1976 film), Marco Beltrami dedicated his score to Goldsmith, which also included an updated arrangement of "Ave Satani" titled "Omen 76/06". Likewise, when composer Brian Tyler was commissioned in 2012 to update the Universal Studios logo for the Universal centennial, he retained the "classic melody" originally composed by Goldsmith in 1997, opting to "bring it into the 21st century."
Over the course of his career, Goldsmith received 18 total Academy Award nominations, making him one of the most nominated composers in Academy Awards history. Despite this, Goldsmith won only one Oscar, for his score to the 1976 film The Omen. This makes Goldsmith the most nominated composer to have won an Oscar only on one occasion. In 1991, Goldsmith received an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Berklee College of Music.
The American Film Institute respectively ranked Goldsmith's scores for Chinatown (1974) and Planet of the Apes (1968) No. 9 and No. 18 on their list of the 25 greatest film scores. He is one of only five composers to have more than one score featured in the list, including Elmer Bernstein, Bernard Herrmann, Max Steiner, and John Williams. His scores for the following films were also nominated for inclusion:
|Academy Awards||1962||Freud||Best Music Score--substantially original||Nominated|
|1965||A Patch of Blue||Best Music Score--substantially original||Nominated|
|1966||The Sand Pebbles||Best Original Music Score||Nominated|
|1968||Planet of the Apes||Best Original Score--for a motion picture [not a musical]||Nominated|
|1970||Patton||Best Original Dramatic Score||Nominated|
|1973||Papillon||Best Original Dramatic Score||Nominated|
|1974||Chinatown||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1975||The Wind and the Lion||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1976||The Omen||Best Original Score||Won|
|"Ave Satani" (from The Omen)||Best Original Song||Nominated|
|1978||The Boys from Brazil||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1979||Star Trek: The Motion Picture||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1982||Poltergeist||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1983||Under Fire||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1986||Hoosiers||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1992||Basic Instinct||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1997||L.A. Confidential||Best Original Dramatic Score||Nominated|
|1998||Mulan (shared nomination with Matthew Wilder and David Zippel)||Best Original Musical or Comedy Score||Nominated|
|Annie Awards||1998||Mulan (shared with Matthew Wilder and David Zippel)||Music in a Feature Production||Won|
|British Academy Film Awards||1974||Chinatown||Best Film Music||Nominated|
|1975||The Wind and the Lion||Best Film Music||Nominated|
|1979||Alien||Best Film Music||Nominated|
|1997||L.A. Confidential||Best Film Music||Nominated|
|Emmy Awards||1961||Thriller (shared nomination with Pete Rugolo)||Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Music for Television||Nominated|
|1966||The Man From U.N.C.L.E.||Individual Achievements in Music||Nominated|
|1973||The Red Pony||Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition||Won|
|1975||QB VII (ABC Movie Special)||Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Special||Won|
|1976||Babe||Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Special||Won|
|1981||Masada||Outstanding Achievement in Music Composition for a Limited Series or a Special (dramatic underscore)||Won|
|1995||Star Trek: Voyager||Outstanding Main Title Theme Music||Won|
|Golden Globe Awards||1964||Seven Days in May||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1966||The Sand Pebbles||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1974||Chinatown||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1979||Alien||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|Star Trek: The Motion Picture||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1983||Under Fire||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1992||Basic Instinct||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1997||L.A. Confidential||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|1998||Mulan (shared nomination with Matthew Wilder and David Zippel)||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|Golden Raspberry Awards||1986||Rambo: First Blood Part II (shared nomination with Peter Schless and Frank Stallone)||Worst Original Song||Won|
|King Solomon's Mines||Worst Musical Score||Nominated|
|1996||Congo (shared nomination with Lebo M)||Worst Original Song||Nominated|
|Grammy Awards||1966||The Man From U.N.C.L.E. (shared nomination with Lalo Schifrin, Morton Stevens, and Walter Scharf)||Best Original Score from a Motion Picture or Television Show||Nominated|
|1975||QB VII||Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special||Nominated|
|1976||The Wind and the Lion||Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special||Nominated|
|1977||The Omen||Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special||Nominated|
|1980||Alien||Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special||Nominated|
|1981||"The Slaves" (track from Masada soundtrack)||Best Instrumental Composition||Nominated|
|Satellite Awards||1998||L.A. Confidential||Best Original Score||Nominated|
|Saturn Awards||1978||The Boys from Brazil||Best Music||Nominated|
|1979||Star Trek: The Motion Picture||Best Music||Nominated|
|1990||Gremlins 2: The New Batch||Best Music||Nominated|
|Total Recall||Best Music||Nominated|
|1991||Sleeping with the Enemy||Best Music||Nominated|
|1992||Basic Instinct||Best Music||Nominated|
|1994||The Shadow||Best Music||Nominated|
|1996||Star Trek: First Contact||Best Music||Nominated|
|1999||The Mummy||Best Music||Nominated|
|2000||Hollow Man||Best Music||Nominated|
|2003||Looney Tunes: Back in Action||Best Music||Nominated|