Oscar-winning composer Ernest Gold, who wrote scores for “Exodus,” “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” “On the Beach” and “The Secret of Santa Vittoria,” died March 17 from stroke complications. He was 77.
Gold’s most recognized work was the score of the 1960 movie “Exodus,” for which he won an Academy Award and two Grammys.
He received two Academy Awards nominations — best score and best song — for the 1963 film “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,” and also received nominations for 1959’s “On the Beach” and the 1969 movie “The Secret of Santa Vittoria.”
Born in Vienna, Gold was raised in a musical family. He wrote a full-length opera when was 13. He emigrated to New York with his family in 1938 after the Nazi annexation of Austria. One year later, he wrote his first symphony, which was performed and broadcast by the NBC Orchestra.
Gold moved to Hollywood in 1945 and began writing scores for motion pictures. His credits also included “Smooth As Silk,” “Wyoming,” “Witness for the Prosecution,” “The Pride and the Passion,” “Too Much Too Soon,” “The Defiant Ones,” “Inherit the Wind,” “The Last Sunset,” “Judgment at Nuremberg,” “Pressure Point,” “A Child Is Waiting,” “Ship of Fools,” “The Wild McCullochs,” “Fun With Dick and Jane,” “Cross of Iron” and “The Runner Stumbles.”
Gold, who was formerly married to singer Marni Nixon, was also active writing classical music and served as musical director of the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra. He was also president of the West Coast branch of the National Assn. for American Composers and Conductors.
He is survived by his wife, Jan Keller Gold; two daughters; a son; and a stepson.