Composer Ennio Morricone dies aged 91

06 July 2020
By Ellie Palmer
The Italian passed away overnight in Rome, Italy

Ennio Morricone, one of the great film composers of the 20th century, has died aged 91.

The news was announced by Morricone's lawyer, Giorgio Assumma, who also confirmed that a private funeral will be held “in respect of the feeling of humility that has always inspired his life’s work."

Morricone scored for over 400 Film and TV productions, over 70 of which were award-winning films. He's responsible for composing the music for films such as For A Few Dollars More (1965), The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), La Cage aux Folles (1978), Cinema Paradiso (1988) and so many more.

Morricone was born in 1928 and began trumpet lessons as a child, taking after his father Mario, who was also a trumpet player. He studied at the National Academy of St Cecilia and received his diploma in trumpet in 1946.

Morricone in 2007


However, composition appeared to be his calling. After graduation, he turned his attention to ghost-writing for films. By the end of the 1960s, he already had some huge box-office hits to his name; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) grossed $14.5 million in its American release, against the much smaller budget of $200–250,000. An incredible feat. The film fell into the Spaghetti Western genre, a genre that Morricone would become very familiar with over the coming years.

Morricone's status went from strength to strength over the course of his career. Incredibly, he didn't win his first Academy Award until 2015, where he received Best Original Score for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight. At the age of 86, he became the oldest person to win an Oscar. 

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Elsewhere, he won three Grammy Awards, three Golden Globes, six BAFTAs and many more awards.

Fellow musicians have been paying tribute to the composer. Hans Zimmer commented, "Ennio was an icon and icons just don't go away."

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Rest in peace, Ennio.