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About John Morris
A self-described eclectic, John Morris provided scores for a diverse array of films, from Blazing Saddles -- his breakout hit -- to The Elephant Man. Though the bulk of his best-known projects came from his film collaborations with producer/directors Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder, his varied career also embraced television and Broadway, and also included work in Great Britain.
Morris was born in 1926 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. His affinity for music emerged at the age of three, when he sat down at his parents' friends' piano and started to play; according to Morris, he just "never stopped." He continued piano studies throughout his childhood, most of which was spent in the small town of Independence, Kansas; he later returned to the East Coast to attend the Juilliard School.
A 1971 encounter with Mel Brooks would mark the beginning of Morris' career in film. Having both been hired to revamp a failing musical called Shinbone Alley, the two worked well together, and Brooks immediately hired Morris to score his upcoming film, The Producers, starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder. This would prove to be the first of many hits for the pair, who would go on to produce such modern classics as Young Frankenstein, High Anxiety, The Elephant Man (directed by David Lynch), and the enigmatic Silent Movie of 1976, which, for obvious reasons, required over an hour and a half of musical material.
For producer Wilder, Morris composed the scores for Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother, The World's Greatest Lover, and others. He also provided scores for more than a dozen Shakespearian films and the mini-series Scarlet (sequel to Gone with the Wind). Morris died in January 2018 at the age of 91. ~ TiVo Staff
- Elizabeth, NJ
- 18 Oct 1926