Maurice Jarre Biography

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13 September 1924, Lyons, France. An important composer for films for over 40 years, as a youngster Jarre intended to become an electrical engineer, but changed his mind and studied music at the Paris Conservatoire in 1944. He joined the orchestra of the Jean Louise Barrault Theatre, and in 1951, composed the music for Kleist’sLe Prince De Homburg. Soon afterwards he moved into films, and during the 50s, wrote the scores for such French productions as Hotel Des Invalides, Le Grand Silence, Le Tetre Contre Les Murs and Les Yeux Sans Visage (Eyes Without A Face). During the early 60s, he began to score the occasional non-Gallic movie, such as Crack In The Mirror, starring Orson Welles, The Big Gamble and ‘the last great epic of World War II’, The Longest Day (1962). In the same year, Jarre won his first Academy Award for his memorable score for Lawrence Of Arabia, and was honoured again, three years later, for his music to Doctor Zhivago, featuring the haunting ‘Lara’s Theme’ (‘Somewhere My Love’), which, with a lyric by Paul Francis Webster, became a Top 10 singles hit for the Ray Conniff Singers, and was the title track of one of their million-selling albums. Jarre’s other 60s scores for English-speaking films included Behold A Pale Horse, The Collector, Is Paris Burning?, The Professionals, Grand Prix, Gambit, The Night Of The Generals, Villa Rides!, Five Card Stud, The Fixer, Isadora, The Damned and Alfred Hitchcock’s Topaz (1969).

Jarre continued to write prolifically in the 70s for films such as director George Steven’s swan-song, The Only Game In Town, one of Neil Simon’s funniest comedies, Plaza Suite, and many others, such as The Effect Of Gamma Rays On Man-In-The-Moon Marigolds, The Life And Times Of Judge Roy Bean, in which Andy Williams sang Jarre’s ‘Marmalade, Molasses And Honey’ (lyric by Alan And Marilyn Bergman), The Mackintosh Man, Great Expectations, Posse, The Man Who Would Be King, The Last Tycoon, Mohammed, Messenger Of God, March Or Die and Winter Kills. His third Oscar came in 1984 for his ‘anachronistic’ score for David Lean’s A Passage To India, and he was nominated in the following year for his work on Witness, starring Harrison Ford. His other 80s scores included Resurrection, Lion Of The Desert, Taps, The Year Of Living Dangerously, Dreamscape, The Bride, Mad Max And The Thunderdrome, Enemy Mine, The Mosquito Coast, No Way Out, Fatal Attraction, Distant Thunder, Gorillas In The Mist (another Academy Award nomination for Jarre), Moon Over Parador, Chances Are, Dead Poets Society (BAFTA Award, 1989), Prancer and Enemies, A Love Story. In 1991, Jarre received an ASCAP Award as the composer of the music for Ghost, the ‘top box office film of 1990’. His other early 90s work included After Dark, My Sweet, School Ties, Shadow Of The Wolf (aka Agaguk), Only The Lonely, Fearless andMr. Jones (1994). Apart from feature films, Jarre also wrote extensively for television. His credits included The Silence, Jesus Of Nazareth (mini-series), Ishi, The Last Of His Tribe, Shogun (mini-series), Enola Gay, Coming Out Of The Ice, The Sky’s No Limit, Samson And Delilah, Apology, The Murder Of Mary Phagan (mini-series) and Robinson Crusoe And Man Friday.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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