Grammy-award winning and Oscar-nominated Italian film composer Riz Ortolani passed away last Wednesday from complications after surgery. He was 87.
While not widely known in the United States there are two films he composed for that followers of Geek Juice Media would know of. The first is Ruggero Deodato’s controversial 1980 film “Cannibal Holocaust.”
The second is the 1962 “shockumentary” “Mondo Cane.” For that film he won a Grammy for best instrumental theme. That same instrumental theme, “Ti Guarderò Nel Cuore,” served as the melody for the pop song “More,” which became the main theme for the film and was nominated for an Oscar for best song in 1963. “More” has been covered by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, The Supremes, Herb Alpert’s Tijuana Brass and many others.
Quentin Tarantino used some of his music in his most recent films “Inglorious Basterds” and “Django Unchained.” In addition his song “Oh My Love,” sung by his wife Katyna Ranieri, from the movie “Goodbye Uncle Tom” was most recently featured in the movie “Drive.”
Other English language films he composed for include “The Yellow Rolls-Royce,” which earned him a Golden Globe for the song “Forget “Domani,” “Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell” and “The Hunting Party.”
He composed for a wide variety of films including spaghetti westerns, thrillers and erotica and was one of the Italy’s busiest film composers. In 1970 he received a second Oscar nomination for the song “Til Love Touches Your Life,” from the film “Madron.” He received many awards and nominations in Europe, including a lifetime achievement award from the World Sound Association in Ghent, Belgium last ear.
Ortolani was born on March 25, 1926 in Pesaro, Italy. At the age of 4 he received a violin from his father, a self taught double bass player. He would then go onto to study at the Rossini Conservatory of Music in Pesaro and then moved to Rome where he got a job directing the jazz orchestra for RAI, Italy’s national broadcasting company. He also served in the Italian Air Force and played in its orchestra. In the 1950’s he started his career as a film composer.
He is survived by his son Enrico, his wife, his daughter Rizia and two grandchildren.
Source: The New York Times