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Friday, July 8, 2011

Star Trek

THE composer who created the classic theme for the Star Trek TV series and films, as well as orchestrating for a score of science-fiction and fantasy films including Jurassic Park, Legend and The Mummy, has died after several years of ill-health, it was announced today.

Alexander "Sandy" Courage, the Emmy-winning and Academy Award-nominated arranger, orchestrator and composer died on May 15, aged 88, at an assisted-living home in Pacific Palisades, California, his stepdaughter, Renata Pompelli, said. He had been suffering ill-health for three years.

Over the many decades of his career, Courage collaborated on dozens of movies and orchestrated some of the greatest musicals of the 1950s and 1960s, including My Fair Lady, Hello, Dolly! Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, Gigi, Porgy And Bess and Fiddler On The Roof. He also composed the music for the 60s TV sci-fi shows Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and for The Waltons.

He was orchestrator for 1985 fantasy movie Legend and for films The 13th Warrior, The Haunting, Hollow Man, Jurassic Park, The Poseidon Adventure and The Mummy and was the conductor for the score on 1987's Superman IV: The Quest for Peace

But it was the Star Trek theme he composed, arranged and conducted in a week in 1965 that is his most famous work. The music featured in the original TV series and was reprised in several of the Star Trek movies. It will also feature in next year's Star Trek comeback movie.

"I have to confess to the world that I am not a science fiction fan," Courage said in an interview for the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation's Archive of American Television in 2000. "Never have been. I think it's just marvellous malarkey. ... So you write some, you hope, marvellous malarkey music that goes with it."

Courage said the tune, with its ringing fanfare, eerie soprano part and swooping orchestration, was inspired by an arrangement of the song Beyond The Blue Horizon which he heard as a youngster.

"Little did I know when I wrote that first A-flat for the flute that it was going to go down in history, somehow," Courage said. "It's a very strange feeling." Courage said he also made the "whooshing" sound heard as the starship Enterprise zooms through the opening credits of the TV show.

Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry later wrote lyrics to the tune, which were never sung on the show, but entitled him to half the royalties, Courage said.

Joseph Pevney, who directed some of the best-loved episodes of the original Star Trek television series, has died at the aged of 96. Pevney's wife Margo said he died at his home in Palm Desert, California.

Pevney directed 14 episodes of the 1960s series, including The City on the Edge of Forever, in which Captain Kirk and Spock travel back in time to the Depression, and The Trouble With Tribbles, in which the starship Enterprise is infested with furry creatures. .

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