Description: Record label, USA

Known For: Known for musicians such as Elvis Presley

Music Styles: Rock

Location: Los Agella, United States of America

Born: August 14, 1953
Los Angeles, California, U.S. Los Angeles

Birth name James Roy Horner

Died: Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Died June 22, 2015
Los Padres National Forest, California, U.S.


Representative: Sun records

Contact Address: 3106 Belmont Blvd. Nashville, Tennessee 37212

Web Site:


James Roy Horner (August 14, 1953 – June 22, 2015) was an American composer, conductor and orchestrator of film scores. He was known for the integration of choral and electronic elements in many of his film scores, and for his frequent use of motifs associated with Celtic music.

Horner was an accomplished concert hall composer before he moved into writing film scores. His first major film score was for the 1979 film The Lady in Red, but did not establish himself as a mainstream composer until he worked on the 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Horner’s score for Titanic is the best selling orchestral film soundtrack of all time while Titanic and Avatar, both directed by James Cameron, are the two highest-grossing films of all time.

Horner collaborated on multiple projects with directors including Don Bluth, Walter Hill and Ron Howard; producers including David Kirschner, Jon Landau and Steven Spielberg; and songwriters including Will Jennings, Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. Horner composed music for over 100 films; he won two Academy Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, three Satellite Awards, and three Saturn Awards, and was nominated for three British Academy Film Awards.

Horner died when his single-engine Short Tucano aircraft crashed in the Los Padres National Forest. He was 61.

Horner was born into a Jewish family in Los Angeles in 1953. His parents were Harry Horner and Joan Ruth Frankel. Harry was born in 1910 at Holíč, then a part of Austria-Hungary, but later part of Czechoslovakia. He emigrated to the United States in 1935, and worked as a set designer and occasional art-director. Joan Frankel was born in Canada. James’ brother, Christopher, is a writer and documentary filmmaker.

Horner started playing piano at the age of five. His early years were spent in London, where he attended the Royal College of Music. He returned to America where he attended Verde Valley High School in Sedona, Arizona, and later received his bachelor’s degree in music from the University of Southern California. After he earned a master’s degree, he started work on his doctorate at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he studied with Paul Chihara, among others. After several scoring assignments with the American Film Institute in the 1970s, he finished teaching a course in music theory at UCLA and subsequently turned to film scoring. Horner was also an avid pilot, and owned several small airplanes

One of Horner’s first major film scores was for the 1979 film The Lady in Red. He began his career scoring films by working for B film director and producer Roger Corman. Horner’s first composer credit was for Corman’s Battle Beyond the Stars. From there, his works gained notice in Hollywood, which enabled him to take on larger projects. Horner’s major breakthrough came in 1982, when he had the chance to score the music to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; the project established him as a mainstream composer. The film’s director Nicholas Meyer quipped that Horner had been hired because the studio couldn’t afford to use the first film’s composer Jerry Goldsmith again, but by the time Meyer returned to the franchise with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, the director found that he couldn’t afford Horner either.

Horner continued composing music for high-profile releases during the 1980s, including 48 Hrs. (1982), Krull (1983), Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), Commando (1985), Cocoon (1985), Aliens (1986), *batteries not included (1987), Willow (1988), Glory and Field of Dreams (both 1989).

Aliens earned Horner his first Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score in 1987, at the 59th Academy Awards. “Somewhere Out There”, which he co-composed and co-wrote with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for An American Tail, was also nominated that year for Best Original Song.[20]

Throughout the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, Horner wrote orchestral scores for children’s films (particularly those produced by Amblin Entertainment), with credits for An American Tail (1986), The Land Before Time (1988), The Rocketeer and An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991), Once Upon a Forest and We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (all in 1993), The Pagemaster (1994), and Casper, Jumanji, and Balto (all from 1995) and Mighty Joe Young (1998) and How the Grinch stole Christmas (2000).

Horner produced no fewer than six scores during 1995, including his commercially successful and critically acclaimed works for Braveheart and Apollo 13, both of which earned him Academy Award nominations. Horner’s biggest financial and critical success would come with the score to the 1997 film Titanic. The album became the best-selling primarily orchestral soundtrack in history, selling over 27 million copies worldwide.

At the 70th Academy Awards, Horner won Oscars for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song for “My Heart Will Go On” (which he co-wrote with Will Jennings). In addition, Horner and Jennings won three Grammy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards for the soundtrack and “My Heart Will Go On”. Titanic also marked the first time in ten years that Horner worked with director James Cameron (following the highly stressful scoring sessions for Aliens, Horner declared that he would never work with Cameron again and described the experience as “a nightmare”).

Since Titanic, Horner continued to score for major productions (including The Perfect Storm, A Beautiful Mind, Enemy at the Gates, The Mask of Zorro, The Legend of Zorro, House of Sand and Fog and Bicentennial Man). Aside from scoring major productions, Horner periodically worked on smaller projects such as Iris, Radio and Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius. He received his eighth and ninth Academy Award nominations for A Beautiful Mind (2001) and House of Sand and Fog (2003), but lost on both occasions to Howard Shore. He frequently collaborated with film director Ron Howard, a partnership that began with Cocoon in 1985.

Horner composed the 2006–2011 theme music for the CBS Evening News. The theme was introduced as part of the debut of Katie Couric as anchor on September 5, 2006.

Horner recollaborated with James Cameron on the 2009 film Avatar, which was released in December 2009 and has since become the highest-grossing film of all time, surpassing Titanic (also directed by Cameron and scored by Horner). Horner spent over two years working on the score for Avatar, and did not take on any other projects during that time. His work on Avatar earned him numerous award nominations, including his tenth Academy Award nomination as well as Golden Globe Award, British Academy Film Award, and Grammy Award nominations, all of which he lost to Michael Giacchino for Up.

Regarding the experience of scoring Avatar, Horner said, “Avatar has been the most difficult film I have worked on and the biggest job I have undertaken … I work from four in the morning to about ten at night and that’s been my way of life since March. That’s the world I’m in now and it makes you feel estranged from everything. I’ll have to recover from that and get my head out of Avatar.”

Horner also composed the score for the 2010 version of The Karate Kid, replacing Atli Örvarsson. This film—the first that Horner worked on after Avatar—was released in 2010. In 2011, Horner scored Cristiada (also known as For Greater Glory), which was released a year later, and Black Gold. In 2012 Horner scored The Amazing Spider-Man, which starred Andrew Garfield and premiered on July 3. In a recent interview on his website, Horner revealed why he didn’t return to compose the second movie; that he didn’t like how the movie resulted in comparison to the first movie, and even called the movie “dreadful.” Upon his departure, he was replaced by Hans Zimmer.

At the beginning of 2015, Horner wrote the music for Jean-Jacques Annaud’s adventure film Wolf Totem, which marked his fourth collaboration with Annaud and also Horner’s first film score in nearly three years.[30]

At the time of his death in 2015, projects to which Horner was attached included the forthcoming film The 33 for director Patricia Riggen, and Southpaw, a sports drama film directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Rachel McAdams. Both films are slated for release later in 2015.

Horner’s scores have been sampled in trailers for other films. The climax of the track Bishop’s Countdown from his score for Aliens ranks fifth in the most commonly used soundtrack cues for film trailers.

Orchestral work

In 2014, Horner composed the commission piece Pas de Deux, a double concerto for violin and cello, which was premiered on November 12, 2014, by Mari and Hakon Samuelsen with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Vasily Petrenko. The work was commissioned to mark the 175th season of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. Horner also composed Collage, a concerto for four horns, which premiered on March 27, 2015, at the Royal Festival Hall in London by the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Jaime Martín, with David Pyatt, John Ryan, James Thatcher and Richard Watkins as soloists.

Musical borrowing

Horner has been criticized for writing film scores that incorporate passages from his earlier compositions, and that feature brief excerpts or reworked themes from other classical composers. For example, his scores from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and Star Trek III: The Search for Spock include excerpts from Alexander Nevsky and Romeo and Juliet, both by Prokofiev, while the heroic theme from Willow is based on that of Robert Schumann’s Rhenish Symphony. The climactic battle scene in Glory includes excerpts from Wagner and Orff. A frequent criticism of Horner has been that his tendency to borrow passages from other composers as well as his own earlier work makes his compositions inauthentic or unoriginal; a Filmtracks review of Titanic said that Horner was “skilled in the adaptation of existing music into films with just enough variation to avoid legal troubles.”


On June 22, 2015, multiple international news outlets reported that Horner was presumed dead, after his Short Tucano turboprop aircraft crashed into the Los Padres National Forest near Ventucopa, California. The following day, his representatives at the Gorfaine/Schwartz Agency posted a message on their website, stating that Horner, the only person aboard the aircraft, was killed.His attorney confirmed Horner was in the airplane when it took off after fueling at Camarillo Airport.The Ventura County Medical Examiner’s Office on June 25 confirmed Horner’s death and ruled the crash an accident.

Contemporaries and collaborators around the world paid their respects to Horner, including composers Paul Williams and Alan Menken, and directors Ron Howard and James Cameron. Horner was reported to be committed to the Avatar franchise; Cameron said he and Horner “were looking forward to our next gig.” Horner’s assistant, Sylvia Patrycja, wrote on her Facebook page, “We have lost an amazing person with a huge heart and unbelievable talent who died doing what he loved.” Many celebrities, including Russell Crowe, Diane Warren, and Céline Dion also gave their condolences.Dion, who sang “My Heart Will Go On”, one of Horner’s most renowned compositions and considered Dion’s signature song, wrote on her website that she and husband René Angélil were shaken by the death of Horner, “whom we considered a friend. We will always remember his kindness and great talent that changed my career.”

List of scores


1978 The Drought (for the American Film Institute)
1978 Fantasies (for the American Film Institute)
1978 Gist and Evans (for the American Film Institute)
1978 Landscapes (for the American Film Institute)
1978 Just for a Laugh (for the American Film Institute)
1978 The Watcher (for the American Film Institute)
1979 The Lady in Red
1979 Up from the Depths


Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
1980 Humanoids from the Deep Barbara Peeters New World Pictures
Battle Beyond the Stars Jimmy T. Murakami New World Pictures Score reused in later Roger Corman productions
1981 The Hand Oliver Stone Orion Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures
Wolfen Michael Wadleigh Orion Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures Replaced Craig Safan
Deadly Blessing Wes Craven PolyGram Pictures
United Artists
The Pursuit of D. B. Cooper Roger Spottiswoode Universal Pictures
1982 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan Nicholas Meyer Paramount Pictures
48 Hrs. Walter Hill Paramount Pictures
1983 Space Raiders Howard R. Cohen New World Pictures
Something Wicked This Way Comes Jack Clayton Bryna Productions
Walt Disney Pictures Replaced Georges Delerue
Krull Peter Yates Columbia Pictures
Brainstorm Douglas Trumbull Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
Testament Lynne Littman Paramount Pictures
The Dresser Peter Yates Columbia Pictures
Gorky Park Michael Apted Orion Pictures (original theatrical release)
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (current rights)
Uncommon Valor Ted Kotcheff Paramount Pictures
1984 The Stone Boy Christopher Cain 20th Century Fox
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock Leonard Nimoy Paramount Pictures
1985 Heaven Help Us Michael Dinner HBO Pictures
TriStar Pictures
Cocoon Ron Howard 20th Century Fox
Volunteers Nicholas Meyer TriStar Pictures
The Journey of Natty Gann Jeremy Kagan Walt Disney Pictures Replaced Elmer Bernstein
Commando Mark L. Lester Silver Pictures
20th Century Fox
1986 Off Beat Michael Dinner Silver Screens Partners II
Touchstone Pictures
Aliens James Cameron Brandywine Productions
20th Century Fox Oscar nomination
Where the River Runs Black Christopher Cain Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
The Name of the Rose Jean-Jacques Annaud RAI
Constantin Film
20th Century Fox (North America)
Columbia Pictures (International)
An American Tail Don Bluth Sullivan Bluth Studios
Amblin Entertainment
Universal Pictures Oscar & Golden Globe nomination; also wrote “Somewhere Out There” with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for Linda Ronstadt and James Ingram
1987 P.K. and the Kid Lou Lombardo Sunn Classic Pictures
Project X Jonathan Kaplan 20th Century Fox
*batteries not included Matthew Robbins Amblin Entertainment
Universal Pictures
1988 Willow Ron Howard Lucasfilm
Imagine Entertainment
Red Heat Walter Hill Carolco Pictures
TriStar Pictures
Vibes Ken Kwapis Imagine Entertainment
Columbia Pictures
The Land Before Time Don Bluth Sullivan Bluth Studios
Amblin Entertainment
Universal Pictures also wrote “If We Hold On Together” with Will Jennings for Diana Ross
Cocoon: The Return Daniel Petrie 20th Century Fox
1989 Field of Dreams Phil Alden Robinson Universal Pictures Oscar nomination
Honey, I Shrunk the Kids Joe Johnston Walt Disney Pictures
In Country Norman Jewison Warner Bros. Pictures
Dad Gary David Goldberg Amblin Entertainment
Universal Pictures
Glory Edward Zwick TriStar Pictures Golden Globe nomination
Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
1990 I Love You to Death Lawrence Kasdan TriStar Pictures
Another 48 Hrs. Walter Hill Paramount Pictures
1991 Once Around Lasse Hallström Cinecom Entertainment
Universal Pictures
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys Stuart Rosenberg The Samuel Goldwyn Company
Class Action Michael Apted Interscope Communications
20th Century Fox
The Rocketeer Joe Johnston Gordon Company
Silver Screen Partners IV
Walt Disney Pictures
An American Tail: Fievel Goes West Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells Amblimation
Amblin Entertainment
Universal Pictures Golden Globe nomination; also wrote “Dreams to Dream” with Will Jennings for Linda Ronstadt
1992 Thunderheart Michael Apted Tribeca Productions
TriStar Pictures
Sneakers Phil Alden Robinson Universal Studios
Unlawful Entry Jonathan Kaplan Largo Entertainment
20th Century Fox
Patriot Games Phillip Noyce Paramount Pictures
1993 Swing Kids Thomas Carter Hollywood Pictures
A Far Off Place Mikael Salomon Touchwood Pacific Partners
Amblin Entertainment
Walt Disney Pictures
Jack the Bear Marshall Herskovitz 20th Century Fox
Once Upon a Forest Charles Grosvenor ITV
Hanna-Barbera Productions
20th Century Fox also wrote “Once Upon A Time With Me” with Will Jennings for Florence Warner
House of Cards Michael Lessac Miramax Films
Hocus Pocus Kenny Ortega Walt Disney Pictures Only wrote “Sarah’s Theme” with Brock Walsh; film scored by John Debney
Searching for Bobby Fischer Steven Zaillian Paramount Pictures
The Man Without a Face Mel Gibson Icon Productions
Warner Bros. Pictures
Bopha! Morgan Freeman Paramount Pictures
We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story Phil Nibbelink and Simon Wells Amblimation
Universal Pictures also wrote “Roll Back The Rock (To The Dawn Of Time)” with Thomas Dolby for Little Richard
The Pelican Brief Alan J. Pakula Warner Bros. Pictures
1994 Clear and Present Danger Phillip Noyce Paramount Pictures
The Pagemaster Joe Johnston Turner Feature Animation
20th Century Fox (North America)
Turner Pictures (International) also wrote “Whatever You Imagine” with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for Wendy Moten
Legends of the Fall Edward Zwick Bedford Falls Productions
TriStar Pictures Golden Globe nomination; also wrote “Twilight and Mist” with Brock Walsh
1995 Braveheart Mel Gibson Icon Productions
The Ladd Company
Paramount Pictures (North America)
20th Century Fox (International) Oscar, Golden Globe & BAFTA nomination
Casper Brad Silberling Harvey Films
Amblin Entertainment
Universal Pictures
Apollo 13 Ron Howard Imagine Entertainment
Universal Pictures Oscar nomination
Jade William Friedkin Paramount Pictures
Jumanji Joe Johnston Interscope Communications
TriStar Pictures
Balto Simon Wells Amblimation
Amblin Entertainment
Universal Pictures also wrote “Reach for the Light” with Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil for Steve Winwood
1996 The Spitfire Grill Lee David Zlotoff Castle Rock Entertainment
Columbia Pictures Replaced Bennie Wallace
Courage Under Fire Edward Zwick Davis Entertainment
20th Century Fox
To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday Michael Pressman Rastar
Triumph Films
Ransom Ron Howard Icon Productions
Imagine Entertainment
Touchstone Pictures Replaced Howard Shore
1997 The Devil’s Own Alan J. Pakula Columbia Pictures
Titanic James Cameron Lightstorm Entertainment
Paramount Pictures (North America)
20th Century Fox (International) Oscar, Golden Globe & Grammy winner, BAFTA nomination; also wrote “My Heart Will Go On” with Will Jennings for Celine Dion
1998 Deep Impact Mimi Leder Paramount Pictures (US)
DreamWorks Pictures (International)
The Mask of Zorro Martin Campbell Amblin Entertainment
TriStar Pictures also wrote “I Want to Spend My Lifetime Loving You” with Will Jennings for Tina Arena and Marc Anthony
Mighty Joe Young Ron Underwood RKO Pictures
Walt Disney Pictures
1999 Bicentennial Man Chris Columbus 1492 Pictures
Touchstone Pictures (North America)
Columbia Pictures (International) also wrote “Then You Look at Me” with Will Jennings for Celine Dion
Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
2000 The Perfect Storm Wolfgang Petersen Warner Bros. Pictures also wrote “Yours Forever” with Will Jennings for John Mellencamp
How the Grinch Stole Christmas Ron Howard Imagine Entertainment
Universal Pictures also wrote “Where Are You, Christmas?” with Mariah Carey and Will Jennings for Faith Hill
2001 Enemy at the Gates Jean-Jacques Annaud Mandalay Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Iris Richard Eyre BBC Films
Mirage Enterprises
Miramax Films
A Beautiful Mind Ron Howard Imagine Entertainment
DreamWorks Pictures
Universal Pictures Golden Globe & Oscar Nominee; also wrote “All Love Can Be” with Will Jennings for Charlotte Church
2002 Windtalkers John Woo Lion Rock Productions
The Four Feathers Shekhar Kapur Lakeshore Entertainment
Mandeville Films
Paramount Pictures (US)
Miramax Films (International)
2003 Beyond Borders Martin Campbell Mandalay Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Radio Michael Tollin Tollin/Robbins Productions
Revolution Studios
Columbia Pictures
The Missing Ron Howard Revolution Studios
Imagine Entertainment
Columbia Pictures
House of Sand and Fog Vadim Perelman DreamWorks Pictures Oscar Nominee
2004 Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius Rowdy Herrington Film Foundry Releasing
Troy Wolfgang Petersen Warner Bros. Pictures Replaced Gabriel Yared; also wrote “Remember” with Cynthia Weil for Josh Groban and Tanja Carovska
The Forgotten Joseph Ruben Revolution Studios
Columbia Pictures
2005 The Chumscrubber Arie Posin Newmarket Films
Equity Pictures
Go Fish Pictures (through DreamWorks Pictures)
Flightplan Robert Schwentke Imagine Entertainment
Touchstone Pictures
The Legend of Zorro Martin Campbell Spyglass Entertainment
Amblin Entertainment
Columbia Pictures
The New World Terrence Malick New Line Cinema
2006 All the King’s Men Steven Zaillian Relativity Media
Phoenix Pictures
Columbia Pictures
Apocalypto Mel Gibson Icon Productions
Touchstone Pictures
2007 The Life Before Her Eyes Vadim Perelman 2929 Entertainment
Magnolia Pictures
2008 The Spiderwick Chronicles Mark Waters Nickelodeon Movies
The Kennedy/Marshall Company
Paramount Pictures
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas Mark Herman BBC Films
Heyday Films
Miramax Films
2009 Avatar James Cameron Lightstorm Entertainment
Dune Entertainment
Ingenious Film Partners
20th Century Fox Golden Globe, BAFTA & Oscar Nominee; also wrote “I See You” with Kuk Harrell and Simon Franglen for Leona Lewis
Year Title Director(s) Studio(s) Notes
2010 The Karate Kid Harald Zwart Overbrook Entertainment
JW Productions
China Film Group
Columbia Pictures
2011 Day of the Falcon[64] Jean-Jacques Annaud Image Entertainment
2012 Cristiada Dean Wright ARC Entertainment
20th Century Fox
The Amazing Spider-Man Marc Webb Marvel Entertainment
Columbia Pictures
2015 Wolf Totem Jean-Jacques Annaud
One Day in Auschwitz[65] Steve Purcell Documentary
Living in the Age of Airplanes[15][66][67] Brian J. Terwilliger Terwilliger Productions Documentary
Southpaw Antoine Fuqua Escape Artists
Fuqua Films
The Weinstein Company First posthumous release
The 33 Patricia Riggen Alcon Entertainment
Phoenix Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures Second posthumous release
2016 The Magnificent Seven Antoine Fuqua Village Roadshow Pictures
Columbia Pictures Third and final motion picture posthumous release[34]


1981 A Few Days in Weasel Creek
1981 Angel Dusted
1982 A Piano for Mrs. Cimino
1982 Rascals and Robbers: The Secret Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn[68]
1983 Between Friends
1985 Amazing Stories[68] (“Alamo Jobe”)
1985 Surviving[
1989 Tales from the Crypt[68] (“Cutting Cards”)
1990 Extreme Close-Up
1992 Fish Police[ (theme and pilot episode)
1992 Crossroads (theme)
1999 Michelle Kwan Skates to Disney’s Greatest Hits[68]
2000 Freedom Song[68]
2006 CBS Evening News[69]

Short films

1986 Captain EO[70]
1989 Tummy Trouble[71][72]
2012 First in Flight[73]