HomeNews Archive
About the FMS News & Events Membership Merchandise Resources & Links Contact Give Facebook
 
>Print this article  
OBITUARY...

November 9, 2006
Composer Basil Poledouris Dead at 61
Highly respected Emmy-winner composed diverse body of work by Jon Burlingame

Basil Poledouris
LOS ANGELES – Basil Poledouris, the Emmy-winning composer of Lonesome Dove and composer for such films as Conan the Barbarian, Free Willy and The Blue Lagoon, died of cancer Wednesday, Nov. 8, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He was 61.

Best-known for his powerful music for action-adventure films of the 1980s and '90s, Poledouris scored both of Arnold Schwarzenegger's appearances as the sword-and-sorcery hero in Conan the Barbarian (1982) and Conan the Destroyer (1984).

His orchestral-and-choral scores are today considered high points in the genre of music for fantasy films. Poledouris conducted a substantial portion of the reconstructed Conan score at a concert in Ubeda, Spain, in July.

The first Conan movie was one of several films the composer scored for director John Milius. Others included Big Wednesday (1978), Red Dawn (1984), Farewell to the King (1989) and Flight of the Intruder (1991).

He also enjoyed long professional relationships with directors Randal Kleiser (The Blue Lagoon, 1980; Summer Lovers, 1982; White Fang, 1991; It's My Party, 1996), Paul Verhoeven (Flesh and Blood, 1985; Robocop, 1987; Starship Troopers, 1997); Simon Wincer (Quigley Down Under, 1990; Free Willy, 1993); and John Waters (Serial Mom, 1994; Cecil B. DeMented, 2000).

Among Poledouris' other popular scores were The Hunt for Red October (1990), Wind (1992), and Les Miserables (1998).

In stark contrast to his testosterone-driven big-screen thrillers was his music for two television miniseries: the gentle Americana of the controversial 14-hour Amerika (1987) and the folk-based Western score for the eight-hour Lonesome Dove (1989), which won the composer an Emmy.

Poledouris was born in Kansas City, Mo., Aug. 21, 1945. He began studying piano at the age of 9, became part of a folk group in high school and studied both film and music at USC. He scored a handful of television projects in the early 1970s, but his feature scores for Big Wednesday and The Blue Lagoon – both for former USC colleagues – catapulted him into larger-scale features.

In 1996, Poledouris was commissioned to write music for the opening of the Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. His six-minute piece, "The Tradition of the Games," drew on his
Basil PoledourisPhotograph by Matthew Peak
study of ancient mythology and Greek philosophy and was performed by the Atlanta Symphony and a 300-voice choir.

In recent years, Poledouris – an avid surfer and sailor – moved to Vashon Island, Wash.

He is survived by his former wife Bobbie; two daughters, Zoe and Alexis; his mother and brother. A private family service is planned. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations in his name be made to the Catalina Conservancy or the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation.

©2006 Jon Burlingame

back to top
 
Search
 
Past Features
 

02.27.2017
Oscar Music Swept Up in La La Land

Ceremony featured Best Song performances by Timberlake, Sting, Legend

12.28.2016
Classic Film Music on Disc: The Best of 2016

Ellington, North, Goldsmith, Rorem, Schickele among top recordings

12.20.2016
Why the Arrival Score was Disqualified

Composers Johannsson, Richter explain what happened

12.16.2016
Thomas Newman, Diane Warren Honored as SCL Ambassadors

Composers Poledouris, Rose added to Hall of Fame

Feature Archives
 

11.30.2006
Waxman Retrospective at MoMA

Ute Lemper to perform Dec. 17

11.21.2006
The Henry Mancini Institute to Conclude Its Ten-Year Run

Highly respected non-profit group for music education will be missed by many

11.17.2006
DeMille's silent Chicago and Disney's Silly Symphonies

San Francisco Silent Film Festival Special Event

11.09.2006
Composer Basil Poledouris Dead at 61

Highly respected Emmy-winner composed diverse body of work

>2017 Archive

>2016 Archive

>2015 Archive

>2014 Archive

>2013 Archive

>2012 Archive

>2011 Archive

>2010 Archive

>2009 Archive

>2008 Archive

>2007 Archive

>2006 Archive

>2005 Archive

>2004 Archive

>2003 Archive

>All Archives

Home Copyright © 2002-17 The Film Music Society, all rights reserved.
About the FMS News & Events Membership Merchandise Resources & Links Contact Facebook