Ennio Morricone Dies at 91: Edgar Wright and More Honor the Legendary Film Composer

Morricone won the Best Original Score Oscar for his work on Quentin Tarantino's "The Hateful Eight."
Italian composer Ennio Morricone directs an ensemble during a concert of his "60 Year Of Music World Tour" in Milan, ItalyMorricone, Milan, Italy - 06 Mar 2018
Ennio Morricone
Luca Bruno/AP/Shutterstock

Ennio Morricone, the Oscar-winning composer of Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” and several high profile Spaghetti Westerns, has passed away at the age of 91. According to the Italian news agency ANSA (via Variety), Morricone died early in the morning on Monday, July 6 in Rome after suffering a fall that caused a hip fracture.

Over his six decades as a film composer, Morricone is best remembered for shaping the sound of the Spaghetti Western genre thanks to his legendary work on the films in Sergio Leone’s “Dollars Trilogy,” which include “A Fistful of Dollars” (1964), “For a Few Dollars More” (1965), and “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” (1966). Morricone and Leone would continue to work together on films such as “Once Upon a Time in the West” (1968). Throughout his esteemed career, Morricone collaborated with the likes of Terrence Malick (“Days of Heaven”), John Carpenter (“The Thing”), Roman Polanski (“Frantic”), William Friedkin (“Rampage”), Brian De Palma (“The Untouchables”), and Mike Nichols (“Wolf”), among others.

Morricone’s six Oscar nominations for Best Original Score include his work on “Days of Heaven,” “The Mission,” “The Untouchables,” “Bugsy,” “Malena,” and “The Hateful Eight.” The composer won the Academy Award for his work on the latter film, a 2015 Western directed by Quentin Tarantino. The director often featured Morricone’s music in his films. “Kill Bill,” “Inglourious Basterds” and “Django Unchained” all feature Morricone compositions, while the composer wrote an original song entitled “Ancora Qui” for the latter. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Morricone an honorary award in 2006 for “his magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte took to Twitter following the announcement of Morricone’s death to share the following tribute: “We will always remember, with infinite gratitude, the artistic genius of the Maestro Ennio Morricone. It made us dream, feel excited, reflect, writing memorable notes that will remain indelible in the history of music and cinema.”

Filmmakers such as Edgar Wright have also taken to social media to pay tribute to the late composer. “Where to even begin with iconic composer Ennio Morricone?” the director wrote. “He could make an average movie into a must see, a good movie into art, and a great movie into legend. He hasn’t been off my stereo my entire life. What a legacy of work he leaves behind. RIP.”

Wright proceeded to share a handful of his favorite Morricone compositions, from “The Ecstasy of Gold” off the “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” soundtrack to “Almost Dead” from “A Fistful of Dollars” and the End Title music from “The Untouchables.” Other tributes were posted from Oscar winner Asif Kapadia, actor Antonio Banderas, and dozens of film critics and journalists.

Morricone is survived by wife, Maria Travia, and their four children. Read tributes to the late composer in the posts below.

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