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Gerald Fried, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Roots’ Composer, Dies at 95

Gerald Fried, the Oscar-nominated, oboe-playing composer who created iconic gladiatorial fight music for the original Star Trek series and collaborated with Quincy Jones to win an Emmy for their theme to the landmark miniseries Roots, has died. He was 95. Explore See latest videos, charts and news Fried died Friday (Feb. 17) of pneumonia at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport

Gerald Fried, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Roots’ Composer, Dies at 95

Gerald Fried, the Oscar-nominated, oboe-playing composer who created iconic gladiatorial combat music for the unique Star Trek sequence and collaborated with Quincy Jones to win an Emmy for his or her theme to the landmark miniseries Roots, has died. He was 95.


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Fried died Friday (Feb. 17) of pneumonia at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut, his spouse, Anita Corridor, informed The Hollywood Reporter. 

After assembly Stanley Kubrick on a baseball discipline within the Bronx within the early Nineteen Fifties, Fried wound up scoring the filmmaker’s first 4 options: Worry and Need (1953), Killer’s Kiss (1955), The Killing (1956) and Paths of Glory (1957).

Fried additionally equipped the music for such cult Roger Corman classics as Machine-Gun Kelly (1958), The Cry Child Killer (1958) and I Mobster (1959). He additionally labored with administrators Larry Peerce on One Potato Two Potato (1964) and The Bell Jar (1979), in addition to with Robert Aldrich on The Killing of Sister George (1968), What Ever Occurred to Aunt Alice? (1969), Too Late the Hero (1970) and The Grissom Gang (1971).

And chances are high if you’re a fan of Gilligan’s IslandMisplaced in HouseMission: Not possibleThe Man From U.N.C.L.E.Emergency!Flamingo Street or Dynasty, you’ve got heard his music.

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Fried first labored on NBC’s Star Trek halfway by means of the primary season on the December 1966 episode “Shore Depart,” however he actually made his mark on the second-season opener, “Amok Time.” His relentless “The Ritual/Historical Battle/2nd Kroykah” rating dramatizes a memorable “fight to the death” on the planet Vulcan between Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy).

Within the 1999 guide The Music of Star Trek, writer Jeff Bond describes the music as “a mannequin of action-scene bombast, wildly percussive and bursting with exclamatory trumpet, flute and woodwind trills to intensify the hammering of the brass-performed fanfare.”

Passages have been reused for 18 different Star Trek episodes and popped up in The Cable Man (1996) and installments of Futurama and one other animated sequence.

“I began to get royalty checks from The Simpsons,” Fried noted in a 2003 dialog with Karen Herman for the TV Academy Basis web site The Interviews. “I didn’t write any music for The Simpsons. What they did was when Bart Simpson would get indignant and cross the lounge or one thing like that, they quoted the music for ‘Amok Time.’”

A 12 months after Fried acquired an Oscar nomination for Birds Do It, Bees Do It (1976), a documentary concerning the mating rituals of animals and bugs, he gained his Emmy for his work on the primary episode of ABC’s Roots.

Jones had been employed to put in writing the music for the miniseries, however because the January 1977 premiere date loomed, he was lacking deadlines. So producer Stan Margulies referred to as Fried.

“Quincy, for no matter purpose, went into some sort of author’s block and didn’t provide you with a fundamental theme,” Fried mentioned. “And so they wanted a fundamental theme for promoting. It was three weeks earlier than airtime. In order that they referred to as me in. I wrote the main theme. I completed episode primary. The primary present, Quincy did 56 p.c of that, and I needed to end that. And I’m very joyful I used to be on Roots. It was fairly an honor.”

Fried additionally was nominated on his personal for his underscore on the eighth and closing episode.

“There have been two exhibits that I did in tv that had reverberations far past what you’d count on from the venue and the chances,” Fried mentioned throughout a 2013 Q&A with “One was Star Trek, and the opposite was Roots. There was an environment, doing each exhibits, that these have been a bit of particular and definitely extra vital than most exhibits. So I’m not completely stunned, however the enormity of Star Trek is a bit of bit startling and great.”

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Born in Manhattan on Feb. 13, 1928, Fried was raised within the Bronx by his father, Samuel, a dentist, and his mom, Selma. He credited his mother’s facet of the household for his musical skills. Her father, a trombonist, earned passage for the household to America as a touring musician in Japanese Europe. And Fried’s aunt was a pianist who supplied stay music for silent films.

“She was one in all these perfect-pitch sorts of people that might hear and reproduce something,” he mentioned. “I studied along with her, and since they compelled me to take piano classes, I received my revenge by being the world’s worst pianist.”

His love of music grew after Fried entered New York’s Excessive Faculty of Music & Artwork and was assigned the oboe. He took to that instrument and the tenor sax, then enrolled at Juilliard as an oboe main.

In 1948, Fried started a three-year stint because the English hornist for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. Following gigs with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and a return to Dallas, he returned to New York to carry out with The Little Orchestra Society.

Fried was enjoying baseball within the Bronx for a membership crew referred to as The Barracudas when he met a child who “wasn’t an excellent athlete” however nonetheless needed to play. Fried inspired his teammates to let the man take part, they usually turned pals.

“This turned out to be Stanley Kubrick,” Fried mentioned. “He came upon that I used to be a musician. He saved his pennies. He made a brief [film] that was truly fairly good. And I feel I used to be the one musician he knew. He mentioned, ‘Hey, Gerry, you know the way to put in writing and conduct film music?’ ‘Positive,’ I mentioned, ‘I do it on a regular basis.’ I spent the subsequent three or 4 months going to about 20 films a day to study what to do.”

Fried’s crash course resulted within the music for Day of the Combat (1951), about middleweight Walter Cartier making ready for a bout. Purchased by RKO-Pathe, the 16-minute movie would assist launch their present enterprise careers.

Fried got here to Los Angeles and labored on Terror in a Texas City (1958), starring Sterling Hayden of The Killing and written beneath a pseudonym by Dalton Trumbo; stuffed out the scores for episodes of such exhibits as M SquadWagon Prepare and Riverboat; and sometimes collaborated with Corman.

Fried went on to work on different sequence like GunsmokeBen CaseyMy Three SonsMannixThe Flying NunIt’s About Time and Police Lady and different movies like Dino (1957), I Bury the Dwelling (1958), Solid a Lengthy Shadow (1959) and Soylent Inexperienced (1973).

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He acquired three extra Emmy noms, for his compositions for the telefilms The Silent Lovers in 1980 and The Mystic Warrior in 1984 and for the miniseries Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story in 1987.

Extra lately, Fried taught at UCLA and performed the oboe with the Santa Fe Nice Huge Jazz Band and Santa Fe Group Orchestra. The oboe is “the instrument of ardour. It one way or the other will get into folks’s guts,” he said.

Along with his spouse, survivors embrace his youngsters, Daniel, Debbie, Jonathan and Josh; six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His son Zach died from AIDS in 1987 at age 5 as the results of a blood transfusion.

This text initially appeared on The Hollywood Reporter.

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