Alex North

Alex North (December 4, 1910 – September 8, 1991) was an American composer who wrote the first jazz-based film score (A Streetcar Named Desire) and one of the first modernist scores written in Hollywood (Viva Zapata!). Born Isadore Soifer in Chester, Pennsylvania to Russian Jewish parents, North was an original composer probably even by the classical music standards of the day. However, he managed to integrate his modernism into typical film music leitmotif structure, rich with themes. One of these became the famous song, "Unchained Melody". Nominated for fifteen Oscars but unsuccessful each time, North is one of only two film composers to receive the Lifetime Achievement Academy Award, the other being Ennio Morricone. North's frequent collaborator as orchestrator was the avant-garde composer Henry Brant. He won the 1968 Golden Globe award for his music to The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968). His best-known film scores include The Rainmaker (1956), Spartacus (1960), The Misfits (1961),The Children's Hour (1961) Cleopatra (1963), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), The Devil's Brigade (1968), and Dragonslayer (1981).

Music

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