Maurice Jarre


French composer Maurice Jarre was best-known for his sweeping musical canvases for the epic films of director David Lean, including LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (1962), DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (1965) and A PASSAGE TO INDIA (1984), all of which won Academy Awards for the composer. “Lara’s Theme,” from DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, became one of the most popular film tunes of the 1960s. The American Film Institute ranks LAWRENCE OF ARABIA as no. 3 on its list of greatest film scores.

But Jarre collaborated with many of the other great directors of the ’60s and ’70s, including William Wyler (THE COLLECTOR), Richard Brooks (THE PROFESSIONALS), Rene Clement (IS PARIS BURNING?), John Frankenheimer (GRAND PRIX), Alfred Hitchcock (TOPAZ), Luchino Visconti (THE DAMNED), John Huston (THE MAN WHO WOULD BE KING), Elia Kazan (THE LAST TYCOON) and others. He scored more than 150 films and television projects during his long career.

Jarre’s fascination with the instruments and sounds of other cultures was audible in such scores as VILLA RIDES! (Mexico), JESUS OF NAZARETH (Israel), SHOGUN (Japan) and MOHAMMED, MESSENGER OF GOD (Arabia). His later interest in synthesizers was reflected in such Oscar-nominated scores as WITNESS (1984), GORILLAS IN THE MIST (1988) and GHOST (1990). Major commercial successes in his later years included MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME (1985), FATAL ATTRACTION (1987) and DEAD POETS SOCIETY (1989). He died in 2009 at the age of 84.

— Jon Burlingame