William Olvis, Film and Television Composer, Dies at 56

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William Patrick Olvis, whose musical compositions underscored over 19 movies and numerous television shows, died of throat cancer May 6 at his home in Malibu. He was 56.

Olvis, whose father William Edward Olvis was a renowned opera singer, won several awards in his own field, including four from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. Olvis began his professional career in 1988 composing the score for telepic “Evil in Clear River.”

Among Olvis’ credits was the 1993 film “Red Rock West.” Olvis tailored a rich, textured score that enhanced the tone of the genre-bending film that had elements of a Western, a film noir and a black comedy.

For television, Olvis composed the music for 31 episodes of the television show “Life Goes On” from 1989-93, and he composed the theme and 116 episodes of “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.” In a one-minute theme, Olvis conveyed the tone that would come to define the entire series.

Olvis also composed for the movies “Steal Big Steal Little,” “Separate Lives,” “A Part of the Family,” “The Woman Who Loved Elvis,” “The Comrades of Summer,” “In Sickness and in Health,” “Empire City,” “29th Street,” “To Save a Child,” “Fourth Story,” “Teach 109,” “The Secret Life of Archie’s Wife,” “El Diablo,” “Framed,” “Kill Me Again,” “Babycakes,” “Finish Line,” and “Evil in Clear River,” as well as for the television show “Gabriel’s Fire.”

Olvis is survived by a brother and two sisters as well as former wife Cathleen Young, now head of the Humanitas org, who was his music agent and partner.



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    1. Kent Ecklund says:

      In 1975 I played sax in Bill’s band, Montage. We played his original music arranged by him for the 6 piece band: piano/vocals, sax, two guitars, bass, drums. Bill had a natural ability. I think his mom, Dorothy, knew that. She let all of us jam in her house weekly. We got really good. I felt fortunate being in the band and knowing Bill. I wish I had played on his soundtracks but I was traveling, playing sax on Carnival Cruises. I have nothing but fond memories of Bill.
      Kent Ecklund

    2. Angi says:

      The world has lost a very talented gifted person very humble human being he will be missed greatly.
      Rest in peace play your music up in heaven and let your beautiful things you gave to this earth never be forgotten… You had a lot of people who loved you .. Our hearts & souls you filled with happiness & love when you were around us & others… always making music a place in our lives… We love & miss you. God be with the Olvis family .

    3. Clare Quinn says:

      I will always enjoy the talent through the composition for DQMW. Sympathy to his family. My thoughts to the DQMW caste and crew.

    4. So sad, His music added so much to the Dr Quinn series. Great talent
      My thoughts are with his family and with the DQ cast an crew who have worked with him.

    5. mb says:

      I think this is a photo of his father, not him.

    6. FSN Global 's Rick Fox says:

      Reblogged this on Global News Now.

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