Alexander Courage

10 Dec 1918
15 May 2008
Musician
Offer Flowers
Light a Candle
Pray for the soul
Seek Blessings

Alexander Mair “Sandy” Courage, Jr. (December 10, 1919 – May 15, 2008) was an American orchestrator, arranger, and composer of music, primarily for television and film. He is best known as the composer of the theme music for the original Star Trek TV series.

Courage began as an orchestrator and arranger at MGM studios, which included work in such films as the 1951 Show Boat (“Life Upon the Wicked Stage” number), The Band Wagon (“I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plan”), Gigi (the can-can for the entrance of patrons at Maxim’s), and the barn raising dance from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.

He frequently served as an orchestrator on films scored by André Previn (My Fair Lady, the “The Circus is a Wacky World”, and “You’re Gonna Hear from Me” production numbers for 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.).

Apart from his work as a respected orchestrator, Courage also contributed original dramatic scores to films, including two westerns: Arthur Penn’s The Left Handed Gun (1958) and André de Toth’s Day of the Outlaw (1959), and the Connie Francis comedy Follow the Boys (1963). He continued writing music for movies throughout the 1980s and 1990s, including the score for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987), which incorporated three new musical themes by John Williams in addition to Courage’s adapted and original cues for the film. Courage’s score for Superman IV: The Quest for Peace was released on CD in early 2008 by the Film Music Monthly company as part of its boxed set Superman – The Music.

Courage also worked as a composer on such television shows as Daniel Boone, The Brothers Brannagan, Lost in Space, and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea. Judd, for the Defense, Young Dr. Kildare and The Brothers Brannagan were the only television series besides Star Trek for which he composed the main theme.

The composer Jerry Goldsmith and Courage teamed on the long-running television show The Waltons in which Goldsmith composed the theme and Courage the Aaron Copland-influenced incidental music. In 1988 Courage won an Emmy Award for his music direction on the special Julie Andrews: The Sound of Christmas. In the 1990s, Courage succeeded Arthur Morton as Goldsmith’s primary orchestrator.

Courage and Goldsmith collaborated again on orchestrations for Goldsmith’s score for the 1997 film “The Edge.”

Courage frequently collaborated with John Williams during the latter’s tenure with the Boston Pops Orchestra.

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