Oscar Winning Composer James Horner Dies in Plane Crash at Age 61

June 23, 2015
Source: THR

James Horner

Tragic news to report about one of our favorite composers. On the morning of Monday, June 22nd, a single-engine S-312 Tucano MK-1 airplane piloted by composer James Horner crashed in California. Horner was the only one on board and perished in the accident. He was an experienced pilot and loved flying. Many major media outlets are now confirming that the missing pilot was indeed James Horner, despite confusion on Monday evening regarding whether he was actually piloting the plane registered to his name. Horner won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1998 for Titanic, and also won for Best Original Song. He has been nominated 7 other times, including at age 34 after writing the score for James Cameron's Aliens.

James Horner lead a distinguished and successful career as a composer, conductor and song-writer for over 30 years. He composed the score to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan at age 28, before going on to work with filmmakers the likes of James Cameron, Ron Howard, Douglas Trumbull, Wolfgang Petersen, Joe Johnston. His legacy includes the scores for so many movies: Krull, Willow, Brainstorm, Cocoon, Commando, Aliens, An American Tail, Field of Dreams, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Glory, Apollo 13, The Rocketeer, Patriot Games, Jumanji, Braveheart, Titanic, Mighty Joe Young, The Mask of Zorro, Deep Impact, The Perfect Storm, Enemy at the Gates, A Beautiful Mind, Sneakers, Troy, Flightplan, Apocalypto, Avatar and Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man. A beautiful quote from a 2009 interview with Horner in the LA Times:

"My job — and it’s something I discuss with Jim [Cameron] all the time — is to make sure at every turn of the film it’s something the audience can feel with their heart. When we lose a character, when somebody wins, when somebody loses, when someone disappears — at all times I’m keeping track, constantly, of what the heart is supposed to be feeling. That is my primary role. I have to color all the rest, and be on top of all the details and part of all the action and paint everything with my weird colors and weird orchestra and all that, but my primary job is knowing what the heart is feeling."

According to IMDb, the last films James Horner was attached to are The 33, the Chilean mining accident movie due out this November; and Antoine Fuqua's Southpaw with Jake Gyllenhaal, due in theaters this summer. He did finish work on both Southpaw and The 33, so these two will be his final scores. Horner was also planning to reteam with James Cameron for the next set of Avatar sequels. This really is tragic because Horner was such a distinguished artist who was still working hard in the movie industry. And everyone has a favorite score or two from his vast filmography. Everyone knows his music, and there are some tracks we'll just never forget. For a wonderful look back at Horner's work on the underrated Sneakers, read this article.

I have to include this selection (embedded above) of James Horner's beautiful Field of Dreams score. RIP.

Find more posts: Movie News, Obituaries



Writer of "The 33" remembers Horner:

Kurt on Jun 23, 2015


Rest in peace....

ari smulders on Jun 23, 2015


What can I say about James Horner. The man was love! The music he wrote would go strait to my heart. From his score to Field of Dreams, when the director of the film Phil Alden Robinson was sitting in a screening of the film he heard a woman lean over to the man she was sitting next to and said the music alone deserved a Grammy. When the movie was first screened to Mr. Horner at the end of the movie he ran out of the theater and into the lobby. The director found him crying. Horner was so touched that he was given such an amazing movie to direct that he had to run out of the theater to cry. For me his music touched me so. I adore his Cocoon score, and his music from Willow, and his amazing emotional score for The Land Before Time, also his score to Glory is a masterpiece. His music touched the soul. His score for the Wrath of Khan is exhilarating, Krull was scored in the same vein, which is very much a companion piece to Khan. Thank you Mr. Horner for your music that came from your soul and touched mine and I'm sure millions of others too and ones to come!!!

anakinbrego on Jun 23, 2015


The music from the funeral scene in STAR TREK II still brings the waterworks. What a terrible loss. You are right--his music aimed right for the heart and the soul.

Scopedog on Jun 23, 2015


I love the Sneakers soundtrack. Such a loss of talent!

Gohikeone on Jun 23, 2015


Finally someone else who shares the love for this Gem! I love the movie too. Miss River Phoenix as well...

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jun 23, 2015


Yes, I listen to it quite often actually. I have even recorded the intro music from the dvd when the credits are rolling and added it to my album. It fades as the actors begin talking! 🙂 Did you ever notice how the soundtrack was "shared" with Apollo 13's? Check out the "piano banging" in the track "Too Many Secrets" and then listen to the Apollo 13 soundtrack for an example.

Gohikeone on Jun 23, 2015


Great soundtrack and underrated movie.

Marcus on Jun 24, 2015


It truly is an underrated movie. It's weird, but I was just talking to a friend on Friday night about how great a movie it is. We said even though the technology is admittedly outdated at this point, the movie still works. Then we started listening to the soundtrack! the film. I lived in SF,CA for a while, and checking out some of the locales in the movie is quite fun. The Embarcadero looks quite a bit different now! The dropoff/exchange sequence shows it under construction.

Gohikeone on Jun 24, 2015


Terrible, terrible news. He was right up there with John Williams and Jerry Goldsmith. Horner has written some of the most memorable scores of the past 3 decades...Willow, Cocoon, Titanic, Aliens, Wrath of Kahn....ugh the list goes on and on. Such a loss, whats with these guys and they're planes, we almost lost Harrison the same way.

Bounty 4 Zuckuss on Jun 23, 2015


As a composer myself, Horner's influence is no question. A great talent. Loved all of his scores, esp. Legends of the Fall, Aliens, A beautiful Mind, Apollo 13 and the list goes on. one score in particular, Sneakers and Wolfen. Very underrated, IMO. RIP

Sascha Dikiciyan on Jun 23, 2015


I never knew he composed WOLFEN....damn, he left us to bloody soon. RIP

Scopedog on Jun 23, 2015


That ALIENS score will go down as one of my personal favorites. Goodbye to a great artist.

DAVIDPD on Jun 23, 2015


Legends of the Fall Braveheart Amazing.

Henry Willis on Jun 23, 2015


If you are in need for extra payment of about $50 to $300 every day for doing basic work over internet from your couch at home for few h daily then this may interest you...

Shelly5259 on Jun 24, 2015


Damn. R.I.P, Horner.

Mark Brackney on Jun 27, 2015

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