On Friday, Sept. 24, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences will celebrate the career of Alex North (1910-1991), the legendary film composer behind such classics as “Spartacus,” “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and “The Misfits,” the last of which will be screened as part of the festivities at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.
During the centennial salute, film clips will be accompanied by an onstage tete-a-tete with composer Laurence Rosenthal, producer Steven North (Alex’s son), and North biographer Sanya Henderson moderated by Variety’s very own reporter and film and TV music scholar Jon Burlingame.
Remarkably, despite 14 Oscar nominations, North — a contemporary of, and an equal to, such greats as Alfred Newman, Max Steiner, Franz Waxman and Miklos Rozsa — never won a competitive Oscar, but had to settle for an Honorary statuette presented to him in 1985. His other scores included “Death of a Salesman,” “The Agony and the Ecstasy” and “Viva Zapata!”
His love theme from “Spartacus” has become a classic standard, recorded by the likes of jazz pianist Bill Evans and rock musician Carlos Santana. North was also an active mentor to the next generation of composers, including Jerry Goldsmith.
Tickets to “A Centennial Salute to Composer Alex North” are available at the Academy box office or online at http://www.oscars.org.