The renowned Italian musician, one of the most prolific composers in film history, passed away early Monday in a Rome clinic. He was taken to the facility after suffering a fall last week that caused a hip fracture, his lawyer Giorgio Assumma told Italian news agency ANSA.
Morricone launched his film career in the early 1960s and went on score more than 500 films. He was best known for the seven he made for Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns, including The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, A Fistful of Dollars and Once Upon a Time in the West, as well as gangster flick Once Upon a Time in America.
Known as “The Maestro”, Morricone was nominated for an Oscar six times, with him finally winning for Quentin Tarantino’s 2015 film The Hateful Eight. He was also recognised for his work on films including Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven, Roland Joffe’s The Mission, Brian De Palma’s The Untouchables, Barry Levinson’s Bugsy, and Giuseppe Tornatore’s Malena.
He received an honorary Oscar in 2007 for his “magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music” – which was presented to him by The Good, the Bad and the Ugly star Clint Eastwood. He is the second composer in Academy Award history to receive the honour.
Pulp Fiction director Tarantino used obscure Morricone tracks, which were originally composed for other movies, in a few of his films, such as Kill Bill and Inglourious Basterds, and the composer made it clear he wasn’t pleased by the way his music had been used. Despite this, they went on to work together on Django Unchained, for which Morricone composed an original song, and The Hateful Eight.
The musician is estimated to have sold more than 50 million albums over the course of his career. In addition to his film-scoring work, he also conducted concerts of his own music around the world.