He’s probably best known for his work composing the score to Titanic, but he’s actually done the music for 75 movies, making his feature-film debut in The Lady in Red, and breaking through with 1982’s “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.” He of course won two Oscars for his work on Titanic (best original score, and best original song for that Celine Dion travesty, My Heart Will Go On) and has a total of ten nominations under his belt. He worked with James Cameron originally with Aliens, and again on Avatar, and scored lots of other blockbuster movies, like Braveheart and Apollo 13.
He was a well-educated musician, studying piano at London’s Royal College of Music and earning a music degree from the University of Southern California, and then his master’s and doctorate from UCLA. He was an accomplished concert hall composer before he followed his roots and made the move to movies – his father, Harry Horner, was a set designer and occasional art-director.
Horner composed the soundtrack of my childhood – An American Tale, and The Land Before Time were both beloved in my household, and while I remember the mouse with the big floppy ears, and the earnest little dinosaurs, I also remember the music.
A brilliant man gone to soon leaves behind quite a legacy. His most recent work was for the Jake Gyllenhaal movie Southpaw, but a list of his contributions makes it clear that if you’ve ever been to the movies, chances are, you’ve been a Horner fan all along: 48 hours, Cocoon, Willow, Field of Dreams, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Glory, The Rocketeer, Patriot Games, Legends of the Fall, Deep Impact, The Perfect Storm, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, A Beautiful Mind, House of Sand and Fog, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, The Amazing Spiderman. He’s made a huge impact on movies, and on all of us. We’re sad to see him go.
Brilliant Composer James Horner, friend & collaborator on 7 movies has tragically died in a plane crash. My heart aches for his loved ones. -Ron Howard
There is nothing that shaped my movie-going experience more than the musical genius of James Horner. He will live on through the ages. – Rob Lowe
RIP James Horner. Thank U for the beautiful music. We will miss what beautiful music was yet to come. – Diane Warren
Rene and I are shaken by the tragic death of James Horner, whom we considered a friend. We will always remember his kindness and great talent that changed my career. We send our prayers and deepest condolences to his family and friends. -Celine Dion