×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Composer Jack Hayes dies at 92

Orchestrator worked on 'The Color Purple,' 'Star Trek'

Jack J. Hayes, an Oscar-nominated composer and orchestrator who worked on more than 200 films during a Hollywood career that spanned 60 years, died of natural causes Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was 92.

Hayes’ behind-the-scenes skills as a fast, meticulous and highly skilled orchestrator for such top composers as Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini, Randy Newman, Quincy Jones, Marvin Hamlisch and Burt Bacharach kept him in demand for decades. His last credits were on Michael Giacchino’s “Star Trek” and “Up.”

Hayes was Oscar-nominated twice, for adapting the musical “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” in 1964 and for contributing to Jones’ score for “The Color Purple” in 1985.

Hayes enjoyed a long partnership with fellow orchestrator Leo Shuken beginning in the 1950s. Together they orchestrated numerous landmark films including “The Magnificent Seven” and “To Kill a Mockingbird” for Bernstein, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Days of Wine and Roses” for Mancini, “The Greatest Story Ever Told” and “Airport” for Alfred Newman, “In Cold Blood” for Jones, and “Casino Royale” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” for Bacharach.

Hayes and Shuken also composed TV scores, including such Westerns as “Riverboat,” “Wagon Train,” “The Virginian” and “Gunsmoke.” After Shuken’s death in 1976, Hayes continued solo, orchestrating scores for Randy Newman including “Ragtime” and “The Natural”; for John Morris including “High Anxiety” and “The Elephant Man”; and for Bob Cobert the TV miniseries “The Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance.”

Hayes’ solo TV-composing credits included “Quincy M.E.,” “Laverne and Shirley” and “Salvage 1.” He also collaborated with Tom Scott on the film score for “Fast Forward” and penned arrangements for singers including Donald O’Connor, Pearl Bailey and Barbra Streisand.

An ailing Bernard Herrmann enlisted Hayes to conduct his final score, “Taxi Driver,” in late 1975. Giacchino employed him as orchestrator on nearly all his films starting with “The Incredibles” in 2004.

Hayes was born in San Francisco in 1919. He attended San Francisco State College and, later, the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music. Initially a trumpet player, he soon began arranging for radio’s “Fibber McGee and Molly” and for bandleaders including Will Osborne. He later toured as bandleader for comedians Abbott & Costello and with cowboy singers Roy Rogers and Dale Evans.

He composed several classical works and collaborated with jazz drummer Louis Bellson on numerous jazz and orchestral pieces.

Hayes was honored by the Society of Composers & Lyricists, and the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers (ASMAC), both in 2009, for his long career in films and TV.

Survivors include a daughter and a son; a sister; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, at St. Anastasia Catholic Church, 7390 West Manchester Avenue, Los Angeles.

Donations may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

More Scene

  • Donald Trump, Robert De Niro

    Robert De Niro Bashes Trump Again: 'Down With This Motherf---er!'

    Jack J. Hayes, an Oscar-nominated composer and orchestrator who worked on more than 200 films during a Hollywood career that spanned 60 years, died of natural causes Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was 92. Hayes’ behind-the-scenes skills as a fast, meticulous and highly skilled orchestrator for such top composers as Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini, […]

  • Montel Williams poses on the red

    Variety's Salute to Service Luncheon Honors Hollywood Veterans, Military Supporters

    Jack J. Hayes, an Oscar-nominated composer and orchestrator who worked on more than 200 films during a Hollywood career that spanned 60 years, died of natural causes Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was 92. Hayes’ behind-the-scenes skills as a fast, meticulous and highly skilled orchestrator for such top composers as Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini, […]

  • Black-Ish Gap Year

    'Black-ish' Creator Kenya Barris No Longer Sure He'd Want Kanye West to Guest Star

    Jack J. Hayes, an Oscar-nominated composer and orchestrator who worked on more than 200 films during a Hollywood career that spanned 60 years, died of natural causes Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was 92. Hayes’ behind-the-scenes skills as a fast, meticulous and highly skilled orchestrator for such top composers as Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini, […]

  • Craig ZadanTune In! Variety's TV Summit,

    Jennifer Hudson, Renee Zellweger and More Remember Craig Zadan at Star-Studded Tribute

    Jack J. Hayes, an Oscar-nominated composer and orchestrator who worked on more than 200 films during a Hollywood career that spanned 60 years, died of natural causes Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was 92. Hayes’ behind-the-scenes skills as a fast, meticulous and highly skilled orchestrator for such top composers as Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini, […]

  • Amy Adams and Jessica AlbaBaby2Baby Gala,

    Amy Adams on Her Teen Years: 'I Was in a Position Where I Might Become at Risk'

    Jack J. Hayes, an Oscar-nominated composer and orchestrator who worked on more than 200 films during a Hollywood career that spanned 60 years, died of natural causes Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was 92. Hayes’ behind-the-scenes skills as a fast, meticulous and highly skilled orchestrator for such top composers as Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini, […]

  • Michael MooreCritics Choice Documentary Awards, Show,

    Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards: Michael Moore Finishes His 2003 Oscar Speech

    Jack J. Hayes, an Oscar-nominated composer and orchestrator who worked on more than 200 films during a Hollywood career that spanned 60 years, died of natural causes Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was 92. Hayes’ behind-the-scenes skills as a fast, meticulous and highly skilled orchestrator for such top composers as Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini, […]

  • Viggo Mortensen, Linda Cardellini, Peter Farrelly

    Director Peter Farrelly, 'Green Book' Team Weigh In on Viggo Mortensen's N-Word Controversy

    Jack J. Hayes, an Oscar-nominated composer and orchestrator who worked on more than 200 films during a Hollywood career that spanned 60 years, died of natural causes Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. He was 92. Hayes’ behind-the-scenes skills as a fast, meticulous and highly skilled orchestrator for such top composers as Elmer Bernstein, Henry Mancini, […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content