Maurice Jarre dead at 84

Categories: Obituary
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Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia, for which Maurice Jarre wrote the unforgettable score.

As a composer in the 20th century, putting your name on the lips and hearts of the casual listener is a tall task. Few have been able to do it. And though you might not know Maurice Jarre by name, you almost certainly know him note for note.

Lawrence of Arabia. Dr. Zhivago. Passage to India. If you've ever seen one of these epics of modern cinema, you've almost certainly whistled one of Jarre's works. After a career in film that spanned over four decades and dozens of films, Maurice Jarre died Sunday at the age of 84.



Maurice Jarre conducting the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in a performance of the theme from Lawrence of Arabia.


Jarre is best known for his work with director David Lean, and it's not hard to see why. Jarre's musical grandiosity, his ability to embrace the expansiveness of Lean's filmmaking in a score, and the opulence of his arrangements was a perfect score to that era of filmmaking, of which Lean was a veritable monarch.

But Jarre adapted to modernity remarkably well, finding his way into science fiction film work and synthesized scores in such films as Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome and the masterpiece drama Witness, which featured an entirely synthesized score. Though he had not worked since 2000's I Dreamed of Africa, his work will stand as long as the celluloid on which its captured remains.

The causes of his death were not made immediately known. Jarre was 84 years old.


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