James Horner, the two-time Academy Award-winning composer for Titanic and many more iconic movies, has died. Its being reported that Horner, an experienced pilot, was flying his private small plane near Santa Barbara, California, when it went down and crashed for unknown reasons, starting a one-acre bushfire. Santa Barbara County Fire responded to the call, finding the destroyed plane with debris strewn everywhere. There were no survivors. Horner was aged 61.
The composer is most well-known for winning two Oscars for Titanic for Best Original Score as well as for Best Original Song for Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”, but he has steadily been working in the industry for decades, composing music for some of the biggest movies of all time. His filmography includes Braveheart, A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 and A Field of Dreams, all of which was also nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.
Horner began his career as a concert hall composer, but then switched paths in 1978 when he worked on The Watcher. It was his work on 1982’s Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan though which propelled him into the limelight. He would go on to compose the scores for over 100 films, including such hits as Aliens, Commando, Cocoon, Willow, Glory, The Rocketeer, An American Tail, Jumanji, Enemy at the Gates, A Perfect Storm, Avatar, The Amazing Spider-Man and more, grabbing two Golden Globes, three Satellite Awards, three Saturn Awards, and three BAFTA nominations along the way. His last work was on the Jake Gyllenhaal boxing drama Southpaw which has just released internationally, and he was also set to begin working on the Avatar sequels for James Cameron.
Writer/director Ron Howard, with whom Horner worked on seven different films, tweeted out this message this morning in response to the news of the composer’s death.
Brilliant Composer James Horner, friend & collaborator on 7 movies has tragically died in a plane crash. My heart aches for his loved ones.
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) June 23, 2015
Horner leaves behind his longtime wife, Sara Horner, two daughters and an indelible legacy, and will be greatly missed. And even though his work on Titanic is by far his most widely recognized and acclaimed, I’ve decided to end this article with my favourite of his songs, which he co-wrote for An American Tail and which won the Grammy for Song of the Year in 1986.
Last Updated: June 23, 2015