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Basil Poledouris 1945 - 2006
8-Nov-2006 -

Emmy Award winning film and television composer Basil Poledouris passed away today from cancer in Los Angeles. He was 61.

Poledouris is survived by his former wife Bobbi, his children Zoe and Alexis and a brother and a sister. No services are planned.

Basil Poledouris was born on August 21, 1945 in Kansas City. He started taking piano lessons when he was 7 years old. Eventually he went on to become a student at USC, where he studied the arts of directing, cinematography, editing, sound and of course music. It was also at USC he met John Milius and Randal Kleiser, both acclaimed directors with whom he would work in the future.

Even though Basil had already composed music to John Milius' much talked about Big Wednesday (1978), his real breakthrough came in 1982 when he composed the score to Milius' epic fantasy movie, Conan the Barbarian (1982). The powerful themes that Basil created for this movie opened the eyes of the movie industry, as well as the public, and it is arguably one of the best soundtracks of the 80s. Basil went on to make soundtracks for such movies as: RoboCop (1987) (the first Paul Verhoeven movie of many for which he has composed), "Lonesome Dove" (1989 miniseries) for which he won an Emmy, Farewell to the King (1989), The Hunt for Red October (1990), Free Willy (1993), in Paul Verhoeven's Starship Troopers (1997) with Casper Van Dien and Denise Richards and Les Miserables (1998).

Composer Christopher Lennertz was a good friend of Basil's and wrote this today:

I can't tell you all what a sad day this is. I lost a person today who was very important to me. Basil Poledouris was an amazing mentor, an inspired teacher, and above all, a good friend. Sadly, he lost his hard-fought battle with cancer this afternoon and now can be free of pain and suffering, but he will be so very missed by all of us... perhaps more than he even knew. He and his family were extremely generous and kind to me. I learned so much from him, not only about music, but about the business, life, and even sailing. His daughter, Zoe, even sang on demos for me. Their selfless love and support has lasted years beyond my work with him and never ceased to amaze me.

I truly wish with all my heart that everyone could have known him like I did... but then I realize that we all can: Listen carefully to Conan and you'll know how powerful and passionate he was. Listen to the beautiful love theme from Farewell to the King and you'll know how deeply he loved his daughters, family, and friends. Listen to Wind and you'll know how he felt on his boat, sailing to Catalina. Listen to the subtle strains of It's my Party and you'll hear how he celebrated and valued life.

It absolutely breaks my heart to think that I will never be able to see him again... never be able to ask his advice, or look to him for guidance. But then I realize that he left us the greatest gift of all... that we can still hear him: when I put in a CD, turn on my ipod, or put in a favorite DVD. I can listen to his music and be in the presence of him once again... be inspired by him again. And thank God for that. It doesn't make the pain go away, or the loss any less, but after I!
clear the lump from my throat and wipe my eyes, it does make me smile, if just a little.

I cannot thank him enough for the impact he had on my life, and I'm so positive that the world is a better place with the music he left for all of us. Be at peace now, my friend.

With love, sadness, and admiration,

Chris Lennertz

Donations may be made in Basil Poledouris' name to the Catalina Island Conservancy and  Mr. Holland's Opus.

(Source: Film Music News)

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