Biography

A hugely prolific composer best known for his multiple collaborations with director David Lean, Maurice Jarre is one of the most well-respected personalities in the film industry. A student of the Paris Conservatoire, Jarre, who was born in Lyons on September 13, 1924, was the musical director at Paris' Theatre National Populaire in the early 1950s, when he became intrigued with film work. His first movie assignment was the Georges Franju-directed short subject, Hotel des Invalides (1952). Here, as in future projects, Jarre preferred to avoid the obvious in his scores, opting for muted and romantic effects where other film musicians might rely upon bombast. He gained worldwide prominence and three Oscars, for his collaborations with director Lean on Lawrence of Arabia (1962), Doctor Zhivago (1965), and A Passage to India (1984). The composer's Zhivago leitmotif "Lara's Theme" became a best-selling single, though it caused a brief rift with Lean, who disapproved of hit songs that detracted from the films themselves. Jarre has also scored the films of directors as diverse as Alfred Hitchcock (Topaz, 1969), John Huston (The Man Who Would Be King, 1975), Peter Weir (The Year of Living Dangerously, 1982, Witness, 1985) and even satirist Jerry Zucker (Top Secret!, 1984). When Zucker decided to forego parody for romantic fantasy in 1990's Ghost, he engaged Jarre for the score -- and the composer had yet another hit (with the help of Alex North's "Unchained Melody"). Jarre is the father of Jean-Michel Jarre, a popular composer in his own right. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi