July 6, 2020 - 11:31 AMT
Prolific film composer Ennio Morricone dies at 91

Ennio Morricone, the Oscar winner whose haunting, inventive scores expertly accentuated the simmering, dialogue-free tension of the spaghetti Westerns directed by Sergio Leone, has died. He was 91, The Hollywood Reporter says.

The Italian composer, who scored more than 500 films — seven for his countryman Leone after they had met as kids in elementary school — died in Rome following complications from a fall last week in which he broke his femur.

A native and lifelong resident of Rome whose first instrument was the trumpet, Morricone won his Oscar for his work on Quentin Tarantino’s "The Hateful Eight" (2015) and also was nominated for his original scores for Terrence Malick’s "Days of Heaven" (1978), Roland Joffe’s "The Mission" (1986), Brian De Palma’s "The Untouchables" (1987), Barry Levinson’s "Bugsy" (1991) and Giuseppe Tornatore’s "Malena" (2000).

Known as “The Maestro,” he also received an honorary Oscar in 2007 (presented by Clint Eastwood) for his “magnificent and multifaceted contributions to the art of film music,” and he collected 11 David di Donatello Awards, Italy’s highest film honors.

Morricone’s ripe, pulsating sounds enriched Leone’s low-budget shoot-’em-ups "A Fistful of Dollars" (1964), "For a Few Dollars More" (1965), "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (1966) — those three starred Eastwood — "Once Upon a Time in the West" (1968) and "Duck, You Sucker" (1971).

Photo: AP/Michael Sohn