‘The Good, the Bad and the Ugly’ Spaghetti Western movie composer Ennio Morricone dead at 91

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FILE – In this Feb. 25, 2007 file photo, Italian composer Ennio Morricone, left, accepts an honorary Oscar for his contributions to the art of film music as director Clint Eastwood looks on during the 79th Academy Awards telecast in Los Angeles. Morricone, who created the coyote-howl theme for the iconic Spaghetti Western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and the soundtracks such classic Hollywood gangster movies as “The Untouchables,” died Monday, July 6, 2020 in a Rome hospital at the age of 91. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, file)

ROME (AP) — Italian composer Ennio Morricone, who created the coyote-howl theme for the iconic Spaghetti Western “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” and the soundtracks such classic Hollywood gangster movies as “The Untouchables,” has died. He was 91.

Morricone’s longtime lawyer, Giorgio Assumma, said the Maestro, as he was known, died early Monday in a Rome hospital of complications following a fall, in which he broke a leg.

During a career that spanned decades and earned him an Oscar for lifetime achievement in 2007, Morricone collaborated with some of the most renowned Italian and Hollywood directors, in movies including “The Untouchables” by Brian de Palma, “The Hateful Eight” by Quentin Tarantino and “The Battle of Algiers” by Gillo Pontecorvo.

That Tarantino film would also win him the Oscar for best original score in 2016. In accepting that Academy Award, Morricone told the audience at the ceremony: “There is no great music without a great film that inspires it.”

In total, he produced more than 400 original scores for feature films.

His iconic so-called Spaghetti Western movies saw him work closely with the late Italian film director Sergio Leone.

Morricone was known for crafting just a few notes, one of which, as played on a harmonica in Leone’s “Once Upon A Time in America,” would be instantly associated with that film.

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(This story was originally published on July 6, 2020)

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