Elmer Bernstein

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    Date of birth
    4 April 1922
    New York, New York, USA

    Date of death
    18 August 2004
    Ojai, California, USA.

    Sometimes Credited As:
    Elmer Bernstien

    Eve Adamson (? - 18 August 2004) (his death)
    Pearl Glusman (? - ?) (divorced)

    Father of Peter Bernstein, Emilie A. Bernstein, writer Gregory Bernstein and Elizabeth.

    He was conductor for one season of the San Fernando Valley Symphony Orchestra. It is generally considered to be that orchestra's most successful season, and it is generally considered to show that Bernstein was a very capable conductor. The orchestra was made up of some of the finest musicians in the country, including moonlighting members of the Los Angeles Philharmonic and studio musicians. Highlights of the programs included, of course, some of Elmer Bernstein's own film scores. Since then, he helped to found Varese Sarabande, whose best recordings (in this writer's opinion) are of his film scores, but the label also presents music by other composers such as Miklós Rózsa.

    In 1953, he was doing scores for such notorious ultra-low budget films as Robot Monster (1953) and Cat-Women of the Moon (1953). Only three years later, he was doing the score for 'Cecil B. deMille' 's The Ten Commandments (1956).

    He had four children and five grandchildren.

    He was nominated for Academy Awards 14 times but won only once, ironically for one of his less acclaimed scores - Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967).

    Father-in-law of Sara Bernstein.

    Following his death, his family has requested that, in lieu of flowers or other remembrances, a charitable donation be sent to: Young Musicians Foundation 195 South Beverly Drive, #415 Beverly Hills, CA 90212. A special scholarship fund will be established in his name. Since 1955, Young Musicians Foundation (YMF) has provided encouragement and recognition to gifted young musicians from around the country through financial assistance, performance opportunities, and music education programs.

    Was nominated for three Tony Awards: two in 1968 for "How Now, Dow Jones." as Best Composer and Lyricist, with his collaborator Carolyn Leigh, and for his music as part of a Best Musical nomination; and in 1983 for "Merlin," as Best Score, his music with lyrics by Don Black.

    He is the only individual to be nominated for an Academy Award in each of the last six decades: the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s

    Mini biography
    Elmer Bernstein was educated at the Walden School and New York University. He served in the US Army Air Corps in World War II. A prolific and respected film music composer, he was a protege of Aaron Copland who studied music with Roger Sessions and Stefan Wolpe. He worked in various artistic endeavors including painting and the theatre. He performed not only as a pianist but as an acting-dancing performer as well. Among his early composition work were scores for United Nations radio programs and television and industrial documentaries. His original scores for films range over an enormous variety of film styles, with his ground-breaking jazz score for The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), light musical comedies such as his Oscar-winning Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967) score and perhaps his most familiar, the Western film, The Magnificent Seven (1960).

    A few years before before his death, he acquired something of a cult status amongst fans of the England football team when his familiar main theme for The Great Escape (1963) was adopted by them and hummed and played, lustily, during matches.
    IMDb mini-biography by Jim Beaver

    Cecil B. DeMille: American Epic (TV documentary)
    2002 The Rising of the Moon (short)
    2002 Far from Heaven
    2002 Taking the Wheel (short)
    2000 Chinese Coffee
    2000 Keeping the Faith
    1999 Wild, Wild West: The Steel Assassin (Video Game)
    1999 Bringing Out the Dead
    1999 Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (TV movie)
    1999 Wild Wild West
    1999 The Deep End of the Ocean
    1998 Granada: Agua Sin Pausa (short)
    1998 Puppies for Sale (short)
    1998 Twilight
    1997 The Rainmaker
    1997 Hoodlum
    1997 Buddy
    1996 Bulletproof
    1995 Frankie Starlight
    1995 Devil in a Blue Dress
    1995 Canadian Bacon
    1995 A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies (TV documentary)
    1995 Search and Destroy
    1995 Roommates
    1993 The Good Son
    1993 The Age of Innocence
    1993 Lost in Yonkers
    1993 Mad Dog and Glory
    1993 The Cemetery Club
    1992 The Bogie Man (TV movie)
    1992 The Babe
    1991 Rambling Rose
    1991 A Rage in Harlem
    1991 Oscar
    1990 The Grifters
    1990 The Field
    1990 One Day in Dallas
    1989 My Left Foot
    1989 Slipstream
    1988 The Good Mother
    1988 Funny Farm
    1988 Da
    1987 Leonard Part 6
    1987 Amazing Grace and Chuck
    1986 ¡Three Amigos!
    1986 Legal Eagles
    1985 Prince Jack
    1985 Spies Like Us
    1985 The Black Cauldron
    1985 Marie Ward - Zwischen Galgen und Glorie
    1985 Gulag (TV movie)
    1984 Ghostbusters
    1983 Thriller (TV short)
    1983 Class
    1983 Trading Places
    1983 Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone
    1982 Airplane II: The Sequel
    1982 Five Days One Summer
    1982 Genocide (documentary)
    1981 Today's F.B.I. (TV series)
    1981 The Chosen
    1981 Honky Tonk Freeway
    1981 An American Werewolf in London
    1981 Heavy Metal
    1981 Stripes
    1981 Going Ape!
    1980 Airplane!
    1980 This Year's Blonde (TV movie)
    1980 Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones (TV movie)
    1980 Saturn 3
    1979 The Great Santini
    1979 Meatballs
    1979 Zulu Dawn
    1979 The Chisholms (TV mini-series)
    1979 Delta House (TV series)
    1979 Charleston (TV movie)
    1979 A Report on the IBM Exhibition Center (short)
    1978 Little Women (TV series)– Pilot (1978)
    1978 Bloodbrothers
    1978 Animal House
    1978 Masks (Polavision Vignette) (short)
    1978 Macbeth (Polavision Vignette) (short)
    1978 Degas in the Metropolitan (short)
    1978 Cézanne (documentary short)
    1978 Art Game (video)
    1977 The Look of America
    1977 The 3,000 Mile Chase (TV movie)
    1977 Billy Jack Goes to Washington
    1977 Seventh Avenue (TV mini-series)
    1977 Powers of Ten (documentary short)
    1977 Polavision (short)
    1977 Daumier: Paris and the Spectator
    1976 Captains and the Kings (TV mini-series)
    – Chapter VIII (1976)
    – Chapter VII (1976)
    – Chapter VI (1976)
    – Chapter V (1976)
    – Chapter IV (1976)
    all 7 episodes »
    1976 The Incredible Sarah
    1976 From Noon Till Three
    1976 The Shootist
    1976 Serpico (TV series)– The Deadly Game (1976)
    1975-1976 Ellery Queen (TV series)
    – The Adventure of the Judas Tree (1976)
    – The Adventure of the Wary Witness (1976)
    – The Adventure of the Eccentric Engineer (1976)
    – The Adventure of the Sunday Punch (1976)
    – The Adventure of the Black Falcon (1976)
    all 17 episodes »
    1975 The Old Curiosity Shop
    1975 Operation Undercover
    1975 Metropolitan Overview (short)
    1974 The Trial of Billy Jack
    1972-1974 The Rookies (TV series)
    – Judgement (1974)
    – Rabbits on the Runway (1972)
    – A Very Special Piece of Ground (1972)
    – To Taste of Terror (1972)
    – The Bear That Didn't Get Up (1972)
    all 12 episodes »
    1974 Nightmare Honeymoon
    1974 Gold
    1974 Men of the Dragon (TV movie)
    1974 McQ
    1973 Cahill
    1971-1973 Appointment with Destiny (TV series)
    – Peary's Race for the North Pole (1973)
    – Cortez and Montezuma: The Conquest of an Empire (1972)
    – Surrender at Appomattox (1972)
    – The Crucifixion of Jesus (1972)
    – Showdown at O.K. Corral (1972)
    all 7 episodes »
    1973 Incident on a Dark Street (TV movie)
    1973 Franklin & Jefferson Proposal Film (documentary short)
    1973 Copernicus (documentary short)
    1972 The Amazing Mr. Blunden
    1972 Gun Law (TV series)– Hostage! (1972)
    1971-1972 Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law (TV series)
    – Love Child (1972)
    – Eulogy for a Wide Receiver (1971)
    – Pilot (1971)
    1972 The Magnificent Seven Ride!
    1972 The Crucifixion of Jesus (TV documentary)
    1972 SX-70 (documentary)
    1972 Computer Perspective (documentary short)
    1971 Blind Terror
    1971 Big Jake
    1971 Doctors' Wives
    1971 The Tell-Tale Heart (short)
    1971 Appointment with Destiny: The Last Days of John Dillinger (TV documentary)
    1971 Computer Landscape (documentary short)
    1970 Cannon for Cordoba
    1970 A Walk in the Spring Rain
    1970 The Liberation of L.B. Jones
    1970 The Unfinished Journey of Robert Kennedy (TV documentary)
    1970 Kifaru... The Black Rhino (documentary)
    1969 The Gypsy Moths
    1969 Guns of the Magnificent Seven
    1969 The Bridge at Remagen
    1969 True Grit
    1969 A Run on Gold
    1969 Where's Jack?
    1969 Tops (documentary short)
    1968 I Love You, Alice B. Toklas!
    1968 The Scalphunters
    1967-1968 The Big Valley (TV series)
    – The Challenge (1968)
    – Run of the Savage (1968)
    – Devil's Masquerade (1968)
    – A Bounty on a Barkley (1968)
    – Rimfire (1968)
    all 24 episodes »
    1968 IBM Museum (short)
    1968 A Rough Sketch for a Proposed Film Dealing with the Powers of Ten and the Relative Size of Things in the Universe (documentary short)
    1968 A Computer Glossary (documentary short)
    1967 Thoroughly Modern Millie
    1966 Return of the Seven
    1966 Hawaii
    1966 Cast a Giant Shadow
    1966 The Silencers
    1966 National Geographic Specials (TV series documentary)– Voyage of the Brigantine Yankee (1966)
    1966 7 Women
    1965 In Search of Man (TV documentary)
    1965 The Reward
    1965 France: Conquest to Liberation (TV documentary)
    1965 The Sons of Katie Elder
    1965 The Hallelujah Trail
    1965 Time-Life Specials: The March of Time (TV series documentary)
    1965 Baby the Rain Must Fall
    1965 Sherlock Holmes in the Singular Case of the Plural Green Mustache (short)
    1965 Westinghouse in Alphabetical Order (documentary short)
    1965 View from the People Wall (short)
    1965 The Smithsonian Institute (documentary short)
    1965 IBM at the Fair (documentary short)
    1965 IBM Puppet Shows (short)
    1964 A Thousand Days: A Tribute to John Fitzgerald Kennedy (TV documentary)
    1964 Four Days in November (documentary)
    1964 The Carpetbaggers
    1964 The World of Henry Orient
    1963-1964 Hollywood and the Stars (TV series)
    – Paul Newman: Actor in a Hurry (1964)
    – In Search of Kim Novak (1964)
    – On Location: Night of the Iguana (1964)
    – The Swashbucklers (1964)
    – The One and Only Bing (1963)
    all 7 episodes »
    1964 House of Science (short)
    1963 The Making of the President 1960 (documentary)
    1963 Love with the Proper Stranger
    1963 Kings of the Sun
    1963 Project: Man in Space (TV documentary)
    1963 Rampage
    1963 Borderlines
    1963 The Great Escape
    1963 Hud (music scored by)
    1963 Hollywood: The Great Stars (TV documentary)
    1962 A Girl Named Tamiko
    1962 To Kill a Mockingbird
    1962 Hollywood: The Fabulous Era (TV documentary)
    1962 Birdman of Alcatraz
    1962 D-Day June 6, 1944 (TV documentary)
    1962 The Dick Powell Show (TV series)– Savage Sunday (1962)
    1962 Walk on the Wild Side
    1962 The Beachcomber (TV series)
    1962 San Francisco Fire (short)
    1961 Summer and Smoke
    1961 The Comancheros
    1961 The Young Doctors
    1961 By Love Possessed
    1961 2n: A Story of the Power of Numbers (short) (uncredited)
    1961 Topology (documentary short)
    1961 IBM Mathematics Peep Show (documentary short)
    1961 Hollywood: The Golden Years (TV documentary)
    1960 The Magnificent Seven
    1960 From the Terrace
    1960 The Rat Race
    1959-1960 Riverboat (TV series)
    – The Sellout (1960)
    – The Quick Noose (1960)
    – The Long Trail (1960)
    – The Night of the Faceless Men (1960) (music score)
    – Hang the Men High (1960)
    all 18 episodes »
    1959-1960 Johnny Staccato (TV series)
    – Swinging Long Hair (1960)
    – A Nice Little Town (1960)
    – The Mask of Jason (1960)
    – An Angry Young Man (1960)
    – An Act of Terror (1960)
    all 26 episodes »
    1960 The Fabulous Fifties (documentary)
    1960 Introduction to Feedback (documentary short)
    1959 The Story on Page One
    1959 The Miracle
    1959 The Race for Space (TV documentary)
    1959 Glimpses of the USA (short)
    1958 Some Came Running
    1958 The Buccaneer
    1958 Anna Lucasta
    1958 General Electric Theater (TV series)– Battle for a Soul (1958)
    1958 God's Little Acre
    1958 Kings Go Forth
    1958 Studio 57 (TV series)– Take Five (1958)
    1958 Saddle the Wind (music scored by)
    1958 Desire Under the Elms
    1957 The Tin Star
    1957 Sweet Smell of Success
    1957 Fear Strikes Out
    1957 Men in War
    1957 The Information Machine (documentary short)
    1957 Toccata for Toy Trains (short)
    1957 Drango
    1956 The Ten Commandments
    1956 Lounge Chair (short)
    1956 The Naked Eye (documentary)
    1956 Eames Lounge Chair (documentary short)
    1955 It's a Dog's Life
    1955 Storm Fear
    1955 The Man with the Golden Arm
    1955 Secret Interlude
    1955 The Eternal Sea
    1955 House: After Five Years of Living (documentary short)
    1954 Silent Raiders
    1954 Make Haste to Live
    1954 S-73 (short)
    1954 Miss Robin Crusoe
    1953 Cat-Women of the Moon (musical score / as Elmer Bernstien)
    1953 Robot Monster
    1953 The Private Wore Skirts
    1953 A Communications Primer (documentary short)
    1952 Battles of Chief Pontiac
    1952 Sudden Fear
    1952 Boots Malone
    1951 Idols in the Dust

    1. From Noon Till Three (1976) (uncredited) .... Songwriter
    2. The Rat Race (1960) (uncredited) .... Member of jazz quartet

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 10 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Elmer Bernstein was an American composer and conductor
    best known for his many film scores. In a career which spanned fifty years,
    he composed music for hundreds of film and television productions.
    His most popular works include the scores to The Magnificent Seven,
    The Ten Commandments, The Great Escape,
    To Kill a Mockingbird, Ghostbusters
    , and The Rookies.

    Bernstein won an Oscar for his score to Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
    and was nominated for fourteen Oscars in total. He also won two Golden Globes
    and was nominated for two Grammy Awards.

    Elmer was the composer in 8 Duke films,

    The Shootist (1976)
    McQ (1974)
    Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973)
    Big Jake (1971)
    True Grit (1969) (also title song)
    Cast a Giant Shadow (1966)
    The Sons of Katie Elder (1965)
    The Comancheros (1961)

    Any man that wrote, the wonderful music,
    for those films above, and threw in
    The Magnificent Seven, is a genius!

    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 4 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • Bernstein is one of my favorites, and among the John Wayne movies he scored, the one I also loved a lot is from To Kill A Mockingbird which happens to be my favorite movie. This music touches me in ways that I can't explain. But he has done so much.

    Cheers :cool:


    "When you come slam bang up against trouble, it never looks half as bad if you face up to it"

    - John Wayne quote

  • Yep, Elmer could flat lay 'em down!


    "I have tried to live my life so that my family would love me and my friends respect me. The others can do whatever the hell they please."

  • Mag 7, To Kill A Mockingbird Bird all the JWS this chap had a gift and it showed

    Greetings from North of the 49th

  • Elmer's first big break was DeMille's Ten Commandments. He composed a stately, respectful theme for the scene where the Hebrews leave Egypt - you know the one, with all the kids, goats, camels and old folk gearing up to stroll into the desert.
    DeMille heard it and ordered Elmer to speed it up because it made the whole scene a crashing bore. Elmer did and later said he learned a huge lesson about movie scoring - that the music should propel the action on the screen, not just reflect it.
    He remembered that when he scored Magnificent Seven and Comancheros.
    I love the score for Big Jake. Duke is introduced late in the film and then you hear his theme for the first time. Good stuff.

    We deal in lead, friend.

  • Thanks, Keith, for bringing this topic back. I'm surprised I hadn't commented on it before.

    As others have mentioned, the score to The Sons of Katie Elder is one of my favorites. To quote Hondo Duke Lane, This music touches me in ways that I can't explain. It is what I would describe as a rousing score.

    After reading the comments about the score in To Kill a Mockingbird, and also Gorch's reference to Big Jake, I will be watching those films with 'new ears' in the future.

    Mrs. C :angel1:

  • Although it wasn't used in the movie, the soundtrack has Johnny Cash singing the title song to The Sons of Katie Elder to Elmer's music. Worth looking it up if you already haven't hear it.

    We deal in lead, friend.

  • Always loved Sons of Katei Elder and The Comancheros title music. I never missed the beginning (at least) to those films when they were on TV growing up.

  • Although it wasn't used in the movie, the soundtrack has Johnny Cash singing the title song to The Sons of Katie Elder to Elmer's music. Worth looking it up if you already haven't hear it.

    And here it is:-



    Best Wishes
    London- England

    Edited 4 times, last by ethanedwards ().

  • While prowling around Sam's Club, I found a sampler of 15 episodes of the 1959 series "Riverboat". Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds are the nominal stars, but the theme and incidental music were composed by Bernstein. This is the year before he wrote "The Magnificent Seven" and two years before "The Comancheros" and it appears he used that BIG WESTERN style of music here for the first time.
    I haven't watched all of the episodes yet, but the music has been something else to hear. If there are any other die hard Elmer fans, this is worth picking up.

    We deal in lead, friend.