Jerry Goldsmith

Jerry Goldsmith


2/10/1929, Pasadena, California, USA



Birth Name

Jerrald King Goldsmith


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Born February 1929, Jerry Goldsmith studied piano with Jacob Gimpel and composition, theory and counterpoint with Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. He also attended classes in film composition given by 'Miklos Rozsa' at the University of Southern California. In 1950, he was employed as a clerk typist in the music department…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • Jerry wrote the score for the 1993 movie Rudy, an inspirational film about Daniel 'Rudy' Ruettiger, a young man who overcame impossible odds to attend and play football for the University of Notre Dame. Jerry also conducted the orchestra and produced the ten song CD of the score.

    • Although Jerry did the scores for Disney's Mulan, the job was originally an assignment for Rachel Portman.

    • There is a DVD available called Film Music Masters Jerry Goldsmith that goes in depth about Jerry's life and career.

    • Jerry was represented by Blue Focus Management. His agent was close friend Richard Kraft.

    • Jerry's second wife, Carol Heather Goldsmith, is a songwriter and singer who worked with Jerry on vocals for Cabo Blanco, a song for Coma, and the song "The Piper Dreams" composed for The Omen. Jerry's fifth child (Aaron) was with Carol.

    • Jerry has four children from his first marriage with singer Shannon Hennigan Goldsmith. His eldest daughter, Ellen, performed the vocals on The Wild Rovers album. Carrie and Ellen now work as teachers, and Jerry's youngest daughter, Jennifer, is in the entertainment industry. Joel is the only child to follow Jerry into film and TV scoring.

    • Jerry taught a graduate course in music composition at UCLA School Of Music in between his scoring duties for Hollywood.

    • Jerry received an Hon Doctorate from Berklee College Of Music in Boston.

    • Jerry's final scores were for friends, in the case of Timeline. Unfortunately, a score was not used in the finished film due to dramatic changes in the final cut of the movie.

    • Jerry's theme for The Last Castle was adopted to remember the victims of September 11, 2001.

    • Jerry's theme for Russia House had originally been composed for Wall Street and then later for Alien Nation.

    • Jerry became good friends with Paul Verhoeven (the director of Total Recall and Basic Instinct). Their friendship was very rare because directors rarely show total commitment to their composers.

    • Jerry's score for Total Recall remains the defining moment in action film scoring, and is now regarded as a classic of the genre.

    • Jerry remains one of the few silver age composers to spend so much time cultivating technology without betraying the traditional orchestral world.

    • In the '90s, Jerry began fusing technology with his original orchestra.

    • Jerry was originally supposed to write the theme for the original Star Trek TV series, but, due to scheduling, he was unable to do so.

    • The '70s proved to be Jerry's most successful decade with assignments such as: The Wind and the Lion, Chinatown, The Wild Rovers, and Papillon.

    • Jerry won an Emmy for his score to the first TV epic, QBVII, as well as the popular theme and early episode scores for the TV series The Waltons.

    • Jerry is one of the few composers that has managed to juggle film and TV scoring successfully.

    • Some of Jerry's famous works that earned him his reputation include: A Patch of Blue, Lillies of the Field, The Sand Pebbles, The Planet of the Apes, The Blue Max, and Patton.

    • Jerry was good friends with Alex North, who also became a leading name in American film music.

    • After seeing Jerry's work for Thriller, Revue Studios commissioned Jerry to compose themes for the famous Dr. Kildare and The Man from U.N.C.L.E..

    • Some of Jerry's first assignments as a composer for live radio shows include: Romance and CBS Radio Workshop. His first assignments as composer for live TV shows include: Climax and Playhouse 90.

    • Miklos Rosza's score to Spellbound and the film's star Ingrid Bergman captivated Jerry in 1945 and influenced his interest in music for film.

    • At first, Jerry intended to become a concert hall composer.

    • Jerry Goldsmith's fan-based web site was set up in 1999.

    • Was a Father, a Grandfather, and a Great Grandfather.

    • Both occasions involving his work with director Ridley Scott, ended badly. "Alien" in 1979, and then "Legend" in 1985. In the first instant, director Scott used temp-tracks of the acclaimed composers older scores to substitute the grand music written for the film. In 1985, Goldsmiths score was completely erased from the film, and left on the cutting room floor in America. Goldsmith never forgot this, nor did he ever forgive Scott for the inconvenience.

    • Daughter Carrie is currently writing a Biography titled "Decomposing Dad: Jerry Goldsmith."

  • Quotes

    • (describing Jerry's work for the soundtrack on the 1993 movie Rudy)
      Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger: To watch Jerry Goldsmith do what he see him and his wife in tears during the final playback of "The Final Game" see his orchestra give him a standing was more than I could ever have hoped for. It meant more to me than he'll ever know. Thank God for Jerry Goldsmith and how he so completely understood the spirit of this movie.

    • Jerry: For me, writing the theme for Star Trek The Motion Picture was the toughest I've ever written, but it was a remarkable achievement.

    • Jerry: The function of a score is to enlarge the scope of a film. I try for emotional penetration - not for complementing the action. For me, the important thing about music is statement. I can't describe how I arrive at the decision to make a statement, I simply feel it and react to it.

  • If ever anyone could gove a film score the most depth, and emotional backround possible, this brilliant, extraordinary man was the one to do so!

    As I was a young child in the 1980's, there existed an element in films that caught my attention more than anything else.....the scores. Sometimes a film score was the determination of whether or not I totally enjoyed a film. The first film scores I ever came to love so, were all Jerry Goldsmith scores. Starting with "Supergirl", "Poltergeist", and "The Secret Of NIMH" to name a few. Later on my my life, I came to know who this man was, and how he had influenced my life in music, and how I never knew for a long while. When I was 13, I acquired a copy of the film soundtrack "Poltergeist", and I was so happy, all my dreams had come true.

    More so, I believe that this man was simply the best, and will always be and have been the best, in film score composing. Needless to say, he was not too keen on acting, but his cameo in the film "Gremlins 2", of which he did the score, is just fantastic! Goldsmith had a certain style, that I like to say, was Structure and Emotion. When thinking of John Williams, I think Structure and Atmosphere. The difference is in the amount of emotion that Jerry gave his scores. Any one of his exquisite scores will throw me to tears at any time, on any whim. That is how miraculous he was. I miss you Jerry, we all miss you!moreless