OT: Alexander “Sandy” Courage, who composed the theme for Star Trek in the 1960s, has died. He was 88.
Courage, who had been in declining health since 2005, died May 15 at an assisted-living facility in Pacific Palisades, said his step-daughter, Renata Pompelli.
After launching his 54-yearcareer as a composer for CBS Radio in 1946, Courage became an orchestrator and arranger at MGM in 1948.
Over the next dozen years, he worked on a string of classic musicals, including “Annie Get Your Gun,” “Show Boat,” “The Band Wagon,” “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and “Gigi.” He later was an orchestrator for musicals including “My Fair Lady,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “Doctor Dolittle” and “Fiddler on the Roof” — as well as for films including “The Poseidon Adventure,” “Jurassic Park,” “Basic Instinct,” “Hook” and “The Mummy.”
“He made a very big contribution to the musical life of Hollywood from the end of the second World War to recent years,” Oscar-winning composer John Williams told The Times on Thursday.
“He was known to most musicians in the community as having been one of the architects of what we used to refer to as the MGM sound, which meant that most of the musical films from MGM had a particular style of orchestration, which was an extension and development of what was done in the theater in the 1920s,” Williams said. “They actually took that to a very high art form, particularly in the musicals produced by Arthur Freed.
He began composing for television in 1959 and wrote music for more than 350 episodes of series that included “The Untouchables,” “Laramie,” “Daniel Boone,” “Judd for the Defense,” “Lost in Space,” “Land of the Giants,” “The Waltons,” “Eight Is Enough,” “Falcon Crest,” “Flamingo Road” and many others.
On Star Trek
Courage was no science-fiction fan when Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry asked him to score the pilot episode in 1965.
“I never have been” a sci-fi fan, Courage later told film music historian Jon Burlingame. But I thought, ‘Well, what the heck. It’s another show.’ ”
Roddenberry, Courage recalled, said he didn’t want the show’s score to sound like “space music,” nothing “far out.”
“He wanted something that had some . . . drive to it,” Courage recalled. “In fact, he told me to always write that way through the show, all of it.”