Gerald Fried, ‘Star Trek’ and ‘Roots’ Composer, Dies at 95

Oscar-nominated oboist Gerald Freed created the iconic gladiatorial battle music for the original Star Trek series and worked with Quincy Jones to win an Emmy award for groundbreaking miniseries theme roots, died. he was 95 years old.



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Freed died of pneumonia on Friday (February 17) at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut, his wife Anita Hall said. hollywood reporter.

After meeting Stanley Kubrick at a ballpark in the Bronx in the early 1950s, Freed was set to score the filmmakers’ first four features. fear and desire (1953), killer’s kiss (1955), killing (1956) and path of glory (1957).

Freed also contributed music to cult Roger Corman classics such as: machine gun kelly (1958), cry baby killer (1958) and i am a mob (1959).He also worked with director Larry Pierce on 1 potato 2 potatoes (1964) and bell jar (1979), and with Robert Aldrich Murder of Sister George (1968), What happened to Aunt Alice? (1969), too late hero (1970) and the grissom gang (1971).

And chances are if you’re a fan of Gilligan’s Island, lost in space, Mission Impossible, man from uncle, emergency!, Flamingo Road again dynastyyou’ve heard his music.

Freed first worked for NBC Star Trek Midway through the first season in the December 1966 episode “Shore Leave,” he really made a name for himself with the second season opener, “Amok Time.” His relentless “The Ritual/Ancient Battle/2nd Kroykah” score dramatizes a memorable “death battle” on planet Vulcan between Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy).

In the 1999 book star trek musicauthor Jeff Bond described the music as “a model for action scene bombs, intensely percussive, bursting with exclamation trumpets, flutes and woodwind trills to underscore the fanfare hammers played by the brass.” I will.”

The passage was reused for 18 others. Star Trek episodes and popups cable guy (1996) and installments futurama And another anime series.

“I started receiving royalty checks simpsonsFried said in a conversation with Karen Herman on the Television Academy Foundation website The Interviews in 2003. “I didn’t write music. simpsonsWhat they did was quote the music of “Amok Time” when Bart Simpson angrily crosses the living room, and so on. ”

One year after Freed was nominated for an Oscar Birds do it, bees do it (1976), a documentary about the mating rituals of animals and insects, for which he won an Emmy for his work on the first episode of ABC. roots.

Jones had been hired to write the music for the miniseries, but missed the deadline as the January 1977 premiere date loomed. So producer Stan Margulies called Freed.

“For some reason, Quincy fell into some kind of writer’s block and didn’t come up with a main theme,” Freed said. It’s been a week, so they called me in. I wrote the main theme, one episode done, in the first show, Quincy did 56% of it, and I had to finish it. No, and I was very happy rootsI was very honored. ”

Freed was also nominated himself for his underscore in the eighth and final episode.

Freed said in a 2013 Q&A with “one Star Trekand the other is rootsHaving done both shows, there was this vibe that these were a little bit special and certainly more important than the others. So I’m not at all surprised Star Trek A little surprising and wonderful.

Born in Manhattan on February 13, 1928, Fried was raised in the Bronx by his father, Samuel, a dentist, and his mother, Thelma. He credited his mother’s side of the family for his musical talent. Her father, a trombonist, secured passage to America for her family as a traveling musician in Eastern Europe. And Fried’s aunt was a pianist who provided live music for silent films.

“She was one of those perfect pitch people who could hear and reproduce anything,” he said. “I studied with her and they forced me to take piano lessons, so I became the worst pianist in the world and took revenge.”

His love of music grew after Fried entered the High School of Music and Art in New York and was assigned the oboe. He acquired that instrument and a tenor saxophone and entered Juilliard as an oboe major.

In 1948 Fried began a three-year stint as English horn player with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. After a gig with the Pittsburgh Symphony and a return to Dallas, he returned to New York to perform with Little His Orchestra and His Society.

Freed was playing baseball for a club team called the Barracudas in the Bronx when he met a kid who “wasn’t a very good athlete” but still wanted to play. Freed encouraged his teammates to join him and they became friends.

“This turned out to be Stanley Kubrick,” Freed said. “He found out I was a musician. He saved a penny. He made a short [film] It was actually pretty good. And I think I was the only musician he knew. He said, “Hey, Jerry, do you know how to write and conduct film scores?” “Of course,” I said, “I always do.” I went to about 20 movies a day to learn what to do. ”

Freed’s crash course battle day (1951), about middleweight Walter Cartier preparing for a fight. His 16-minute film, purchased by RKO-Pathe, helps launch their show his business career.

Freed came to Los Angeles, terrorism in texas town (1958), starring Sterling Hayden killing Written under a pseudonym by Dalton Trumbo.I filled in the score for an episode of a show like Squad M, wagon train and river boatand often worked with Corman.

Freed worked on other series such as gun smoke, Ben Casey, my three sons, Manix, flying nun, Finally and police woman and like other movies Dino (1957), i berry the living (1958), cast long shadows (1959) and Soylent Green (1973).

Received 3 more Emmy nominations for his writing for TV movies silent lovers 1980 and Mystic Warrior 1984 and the miniseries Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story 1987.

Most recently, Fried taught at UCLA and played oboe with the Santa Fe Great Big Jazz Band and the Santa Fe Community Orchestra. The oboe is “an instrument of passion. It somehow gets into people’s bowels,” he said.

In addition to his wife, survivors include his children, Daniel, Debbie, Jonathan, and Josh. Six grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. His son Zach died of AIDS in 1987, when he was five years old, as a result of a blood transfusion.

This article originally appeared on hollywood reporter.

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