Ennio Morricone

By Taiwo Okanlawon

Ennio Morricone, Oscar-winning the Italian composer whose credits include the “spaghetti” Westerns that made Clint Eastwood a star, has died in Rome.

According to Italian news agency Ansa, he died in hospital having fractured his femur in a fall some days ago. He was 91.

The prolific composer also wrote music for Once Upon a Time in America, The Untouchables and Cinema Paradiso.

Having received an honorary Oscar in 2007, he went on to win one in 2016 for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight.

Morricone, who was simply known as “Maestro” in his home town of Rome, scored more than 500 films over seven decades.

According to BBC, he remains best known for the haunting melodies he wrote for the trilogy of 1960s westerns Sergio Leone made with the then little-known Eastwood.

A Fistful of Dollars, For a Few Dollars More and The Good, the Bad and the Ugly centred around Eastwood’s taciturn gunslinger, known as “The Man With No Name”.

Leone called the composer’s contributions “indispensable” and would have him write the score before shooting so he could design his shots around Morricone’s contributions.

Eastwood went on to direct Westerns himself, including the Oscar-winning Unforgiven, but Morricone did not write music for them out of loyalty to Leone.

In a 2014 interview with the BBC’s arts editor Will Gompertz he expressed regret for his decision, admitting he had missed out on “a great opportunity”.