Alex North

Chester, Delaware County, Pennsylvania, USA
Death 8 Sep 1991 (aged 80)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea
Memorial ID 6772922 · View Source
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Composer. He was one of Hollywood's most versatile and adventurous creators of movie music. His score for "A Streetcar Named Desire" (1951) marked the first time jazz was used for dramatic purposes in an American film, and his style encompassed chamber and avant-garde techniques as well as the traditional orchestra. North's song "Unchained Melody," from the film "Unchained" (1955), is a pop classic, and was prominently featured in the 1990 megahit "Ghost." The son of Russian-Jewish immigrants, North was born Isadore Soifer in Chester, Pennsylvania. Despite an impoverished background he acquired a wide-ranging musical education, including stints at Juilliard, the Curtis Institute, and the Moscow Conservatory, and private study with Ernst Toch and Aaron Copland. Between 1937 and 1950 he scored over 50 short documentaries, and after some success writing music for the New York stage (notably for the original 1949 production of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman"), he came to Hollywood in 1950. Among North's cinematic credits are "Viva Zapata!" (1952), "The Rose Tattoo" (1955), "The Bad Seed" (1956), "Spartacus" (1960), "The Misfits" (1961), "The Children's Hour" (1962), "All Fall Down" (1962), "Cleopatra" (1963), "Cheyenne Autumn" (1964), "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (1966), "Willard" (1971), "Wise Blood" (1979), "Dragonslayer" (1981), "Under the Volcano" (1984), "Prizzi's Honor" (1985), "The Dead" (1987), and "Good Morning Vietnam" (1987). North also wrote an original score for "2001: A Space Odyssey" (1968), but director Stanley Kubrick rejected it. He won an Emmy for the tv miniseries "Rich Man, Poor Man" (1976). In 1986 North became the first composer to receive an Academy Award for Lifetime Achievement; nominated for Oscars 14 times, he had never won.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni
  • Added: 12 Sep 2002
  • Find a Grave Memorial 6772922
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Alex North (4 Dec 1910–8 Sep 1991), Find a Grave Memorial no. 6772922, ; Maintained by Find A Grave Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.