Oscar-winning movie legend Maurice Jarre dies

Movie composer Maurice Jarre pictured at the Berlin International Film Festival last month.
Academy Award-winning composer Maurice Jarre, who scored movies including "Doctor Zhivago" and "Lawrence of Arabia" among others, died Sunday from cancer in Los Angeles, according to French media.

French news Web site France 24 said that news of the 84-year-old’s death had been broken by the manager of his son Jean-Michel, himself a composer of electronic music. Jarre enjoyed an illustrious career, working with Hollywood directing legends including John Huston, Alfred Hitchcock and, most notably, David Lean, for whose films the composer won his trio of Oscars. Fellow French composer Alexandre Desplat, who interviewed Jarre for The Screeing Room at the Berlin International Film Festival last month, told CNN Monday: “Maurice was an immense artist, an incredible symphonist, a magician of the melody and a benovolent human being.” During the 1980s and 1990s Jarre also composed the music for “Ghost,” “Witness,” “Dead Poet’s Society” and “Fatal Attraction.” His final movie composition, according to the IMDB Web site, was for the 2000 film “I Dreamed of Africa.”

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Jarre attended the Berlin festival to receive an honorary award as part of a homage to his work and career. Festival director Dieter Kosslick, paying tribute at the time, said in a statement: “Film composers often are in the shadows of great directors and acting stars. It’s different with Maurice Jarre; the music of ‘Doctor Zhivago,’ like much of his work, is world-famous and remains unforgotten in the history of cinema.” Speaking to double-Oscar nominee Desplat — who himself scored “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “The Queen” — Jarre said: “I never really had a ‘bust-up’ with a good director. A good director will always find an intellectual understanding. And that’s what was great – I had an opportunity with all these people. I don’t think I can say that I ever worked with a bad director.” But Jarre also said that directing legends of the rank of Huston and Hitchock had disappeared and no longer existed, adding: “The only problem is now, there is more and more bad music that goes ‘dang dang dang dang dang…’ So…it’s better to turn off the music, and listen to a concert of Mozart.”