Michel Colombier

Composer

Composer Michel Colombier died of cancer November 14 in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 65.

The French-born composer scored more than 100 motion pictures and television productions including “White Nights,” “Against All Odds,” and “Purple Rain” as well as chamber music pieces and more than 20 ballets.

The versatile composer was adept working in many genres and was also known for his composing speed.

In 1991, for example, he delivered a soul and rap-influenced score for urban pic “New Jack City” in just three weeks after the original composer bowed out.

A gifted pianist, Colombier was classically trained at the Paris Conservatory. He became a popular recording artist and performed on the soundtracks of some of the films he scored, including “The Golden Child,” starring Eddie Murphy, in 1986.

Other American films with Colombier’s music include “The Money Pit,” “Ruthless People,” “Surrender,” “How Stella Got Her Groove Back and “Swept Away.”

He also composed for television films including “Double Switch” and the “Desperado” series. His eerie scores lent an air of mystery to HBO’s “Tales From the Crypt.”

Colombier worked initially in France, collaborating with such directors as Claude Lelouch and Vittorio De Sica.

He came to the United States as musical director for Petula Clark, who introduced him to Herb Alpert. Their collaboration resulted in the Grammy-nominated album “Wings.” In addition to working with the Comedie Francaise and the Ballet de l’Opera National de Paris and American Ballet Theatre, Colombier composed frequently for the more modern Twyla Tharp Dance company.

As a conductor, he directed such top orchestras as the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Paris Opera and the London Symphony.

Colombier is survived by his wife, Dana; six children and a sister.

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