The great Italian film composer died during the night in Rome at the age of 91. In hospital after a recent fall, he lived just long enough to see his beloved Italy bounce back from the Coronavirus pandemic.
He once said: I learned by observing the use of Mozart and Bach and Mahler in movies. I said, ‘This is solid, it has integrity; I want to do something similar.’ That is why I started writing my music before the film was shot.
His score to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) redefined film music, far beyond the sub-genre of spaghetti westerns. He composed 70 more films, including all of Sergio Leone’s after A Fistful of Dollars and those of Giuseppe Tornatore. Exorcist 2, The Mission and Ripley’s Game are among his Hollywood credits. Many regard Once Upon a Time in America as his symphonic masterpiece.