Alien Anthology Wiki

Jerry Goldsmith was an American composer and conductor most known for his work in film and television scoring.

Alien franchise credit[]

Other credits[]

  • The Lineup (1954)
  • Climax! (1954)
  • Black Patch (1957)
  • Face of a Fugitive (1959)
  • City of Fear (1959)
  • Playhouse 90 (1959)
  • The Twilight Zone (1959)
  • In Harm's Way (1965)
  • Patton (1970)
  • The Ballad of Cable Hogue (1970)
  • The Don Is Dead (1973)
  • Papillon (1973)
  • The Omen (1976)
  • Coma (1978)
  • Damien: Omen II (1978)
  • The Swarm (1978)
  • The Boys from Brazil (1978)
  • First Blood (1982)
  • Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983)
  • Gremlins (1984)
  • Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985)
  • King Solomon's Mines (1985)
  • Leviathan (1989)
  • Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990)
  • Total Recall (1990)
  • The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
  • Mulan (1998)
  • The Mummy (1999)
  • Hollow Man (2000)

Early life[]

Goldsmith, who was Jewish, was born 10 February 1929 in Los Angeles, California. His parents were Tessa (née Rappaport), an artist, and Morris Goldsmith, a structural engineer. He started playing piano at age six, but only "got serious" by the time he was eleven. At the age of thirteen he studied piano privately with legendary 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.

Career life[]

Goldsmith studied piano with Jakob Gimpel and composition, theory, and counterpoint with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. He also attended classes in film composition given by Miklós Rózsa at the Univeristy of Southern California. In 1950, he was employed as a clerk typist in the music department at CBS. There, he was given his first embryonic assignments as a composer for radio shows such as "Romance" and "CBS Radio Workshop." He wrote one score a week for these shows, which were performed live on transmission. He stayed with CBS until 1960, having already scored "The Twilight Zone" (1959). He was hired by Revue Studios to score their "Thriller" (1960) series. It was here that he met the influential film composer Alfred Newman who hired Goldsmith to score the film Lonely Are the Brave (1962), his first major feature film score. An experimentalist, Goldsmith constantly pushed forward the bounds of film music: Planet of the Apes (1968) included horns blown without mouthpieces and a bass clarinetist fingering the notes but not blowing. He was unafraid to use the wide variety of electronic sounds and instruments which had become available, although he did not use them for their own sake.

He rose rapidly to the top of his profession in the early to mid-1960s, with scores such as Freud (1962), A Patch of Blue (1965), and The Sand Pebbles (1966). In fact, he received Oscar nominations for all three and another in the 1960s for Planet of the Apes (1968). From then onwards his career and reputation was secure and he scored an astonishing variety of films during the next 30 years or so, from Patton (1970) to Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and from Chinatown (1974) to The Boys from Brazil (1978).

He received 17 Oscar nominations but won only once, for The Omen (1976) in 1977 (Goldsmith himself dismissed the thought of even getting a nomination for work on a "horror show"). He enjoyed giving concerts of his music and performed all over the world, notably in London, where he built up a strong relationship with The London Symphony Orchestra.


Goldsmith died at his Beverly Hills home on July 21, 2004 after a battle with colon cancer at the age of 75. He is survived by his wife Carol and his children Aaron, Joel (died April 29, 2012), Carrie, Ellen Edson, and Jennifer Grossman.


Jerry Goldsmith has often been considered one of the most innovative and influential composers in the history of film music. 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, " 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 modern film composer."

In 2006, upon composing The Omen (a remake of the Goldsmith scored 1976 film), composer 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."


  • Jerry Goldsmith was most aggrieved by the changes that Ridley Scott and his editor Terry Rawlings wrought upon his score. Scott felt that Goldsmith’s first attempt at the score was far too lush and needed to be a bit more minimalist. Even then, Goldsmith was horrified to discover that his amended score had been dropped in places by Rawlings who inserted segments from Goldsmith’s score to Freud instead. (Rawlings had initially used these as a guide track only, and ended up preferring them to Goldsmith’s revised work.) Goldsmith harbored a grudge against the two right up to his death in 2004.