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Elmer Bernstein (1922 -- 2004)

Born and educated in New York, Elmer Bernstein studied music and performed as a pianist. He became one of the finest, most prolific film composers of the 20th century, producing around 250 soundtracks and themes for US television shows.

He received 14 Oscar® nominations, but won only one, for Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967). His first score was for Saturday's Hero, a 1951 college sports drama starring John Derek and Donna Reed. Two rousing themes that he wrote in the early 1960s have transcended the films for which they were created and endure as standards in everyday life - The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven.

His scores ranged over a wide variety of movies, from the comedies of John Landis and Airplane! (1980), to dramas such as To Kill A Mockingbird, the British-made Gold, and Far From Heaven (2002), one of his final works. Aged 82, Bernstein passed away quietly at his California home in August 2004.