Oscar-Winning 'Titanic' Composer James Horner Dead at 61

By Andrew Dalton; Sandy Cohen | The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV), June 25, 2015 | Go to article overview

Oscar-Winning 'Titanic' Composer James Horner Dead at 61


Andrew Dalton; Sandy Cohen, The Charleston Gazette (Charleston, WV)


LOS ANGELES - From the swelling-sea songs of "Titanic to the space symphonies of "Apollo 13 to the bagpipes of "Braveheart, James Horner's singular sound graced some of the biggest moments in the history of movies. It showed in the two Oscars he won and the 10 he was nominated for, and in the status of the Hollywood luminaries who were mourning his death in a California plane crash.

Agents Michael Gorfaine and Sam Schwartz issued a statement Tuesday saying Horner was the pilot killed in the single-engine plane that crashed in a remote area about 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles, although official confirmation could take several days while the Ventura County coroner works to identify the remains.

People who fueled the plane at an airport in Camarillo confirmed that it was Horner who had taken off in the aircraft Monday morning, said Horner's attorney, Jay Cooper.

James Cameron, who directed "Titanic, the 1997 best picture that earned Horner his two Oscars, used terms from another of his Horner collaborations, "Avatar, to describe the composer's work.

"James' music was the air under the banshees' wings, the ancient song of the forest, Cameron said in a joint statement with producing partner Jon Landau. "James' music affected the heart because his heart was so big, it infused every cue with deep emotional resonance, whether soaring in majesty through the floating mountains, or crying for the loss of nature's innocence under bulldozer treads.

Horner had a singular sound, but it found a home in a vast variety of movies and other media, from 1980s synth-laden action flicks to dramatic Hollywood weepies to foreign-language indies. He even composed the theme song for the "CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.

His Oscar wins for "Titanic came for its score and theme song, "My Heart Will Go On, sung by Celine Dion, which hit No. 1 around the world and become the best-selling single of 1998. The National Endowment for the Arts and the Recording Industry Association of America included it among their "Songs of the Century rankings.

"We will always remember his kindness and great talent that changed my career, Dion said in a statement on her website. …

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