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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Alexander Courage (1919-2008) - Star Trek

Alexander Courage (b. 1919)

Star Trek (1966): Main Theme

Alexander ("Sandy") Mair Courage Jr. (December 10, 1919 - May 15, 2008) was an American orchestrator, arranger, and composer of music, primarily for television and motion pictures.

Courage was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the First World War, and he served in the United States Army Air Force in the western United States during the Second World War. During that period, he also found the time to compose music for the radio. His credits in this medium include the programs Broadway Is My Beat, Hollywood Soundstage, and Romance.

Courage began as an orchestrator/arranger at MGM studios, which included work in such films as Show Boat ("Life Upon the Wicked Stage" number), The Band Wagon ("I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan") and Gigi (the can-can for the entrance of patrons at Maxim's), and the barn-raising dance from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Adolph Deutsch would have been an associate in the former and latter....

Courage frequently served as an orchestrator on films scored by Andre Previn (My Fair Lady, Inside Daisy Clover), Adolph Deutsch (Funny Face, Some Like It Hot), John Williams (The Poseidon Adventure, Superman, Jurassic Park, and the Academy Award-nominated musical films Fiddler on the Roof and Tom Sawyer), and Jerry Goldsmith (Rudy, Mulan, The Mummy, et al.). Courage succeeded Arthur Morton as primary orchestrator for Goldsmith in the 1990's.

Apart from his work as a respected orchestrator, Courage also contributed original dramatic scores to films, including two 1950's westerns, Arthur Penn's The Left Handed Gun and Andre de Toth's Day of the Outlaw.

Courage is probably best known for writing the theme music for Star Trek and some other music for the series, but he also worked as a composer on such TV shows as Lost in Space (with John Williams), Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Judd for the Defense, and Daniel Boone.

Courage reportedly became alienated from the Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry over the latter's claim for half of the music royalties. Roddenberry wrote words for Courage's Star Trek theme song, not because he expected the lyrics to be sung on TV, but by claiming credit as the song's co-writer, Roddenberry received half of the royalties from the song.

Courage continued writing music for movies throughout the late 1980's and 1990's, including the score for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (which incorporated three new musical themes by John Williams, in addition to Courage's adapted and original cues for the film).

Courage had been in declining health for several years before he died on May 15, 2008, at the "Sunrise" assisted-living facility in Pacific Palisades, California.

He had suffered a series of strokes prior to his death.

[8920 High Life / 8919 Courage / 8919 Nat King Cole]

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