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Film and Stage Composer Elmer Bernstein Dies at 82

By New York City
Elmer Bernstein
Elmer Bernstein
Composer Elmer Bernstein, whose credits include the films The Magnificent Seven, The Ten Commandments, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Thoroughly Modern Millie (for which he won an Academy Award), died in his sleep yesterday at his California home after a long illness. He was 82.

Bernstein started his career as a concert pianist and began composing and arranging for the Army Air Corps Radio Shows during World War II. His film career was stalled during the 1950s when he was "gray-listed" for his refusal to identify communists in the film industry.

In addition to his film work, which also included scores for The Great Escape, True Grit, Airplane!, Ghostbusters, A River Runs Through It, and The Age of Innocence, Bernstein composed works for concert stages and wrote the scores for two Broadway musicals: How Now Dow Jones (1967) and Merlin (1983). He also wrote much of the dance music for the Moose Charlap-Jule Styne-Carolyn Leigh-Betty Comden-Adolph Green adaptation of Peter Pan (1954), which starred Mary Martin.

The composer received Tony Award nominations for How Now Dow Jones and Merlin, and he earned a total of 14 Academy Award nominations for his film work. In 1964, he won an Emmy Award for The Making of the President: 1960.

Bernstein is survived by his wife, two sons, two daughters, and five grandchildren.


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