The ASMAC October luncheon speaker was composer-conductor Bill Conti. In 1976, he became a household name when he was hired to compose the music for a small United Artists film called “Rocky.” The film became a phenomenon, and Conti’s training montage tune, “Gonna Fly Now” topped the Billboard singles chart in 1977. He also composed music for the sequels “Rocky II” (1979), “Rocky III” (1982), “Rocky V” (1990) and “Rocky Balboa” (2006).
His career has crossed over from film to television, both composing and music direction. In 1981, he wrote the music for the James Bond film, “For Your Eyes Only,” and provided the score for playwright Jason Miller’s film version of his Pulitzer Prize winning play “That Championship Season” the following year.
In 1983, he composed the score for HBO’s first film, “The Terry Fox Story,” “Bad Boys,” and in 1984, he received an Academy Award for the score to “The Right Stuff.” This was followed up by his score for the TV series “North and South” and the films “Broadcast News,” “Private Benjamin,” “The Karate Kid” and “Masters of the Universe,” a live action movie. In 1999 his score for “The Thomas Crown Affair” remake, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo, was another highlight. His televisions themes covered the small screen – “Dynasty,” “The Colbys,” “Falcon Crest,” “Cagney & Lacey,” and “The Lifestyles of The Rich And Famous,” “American Gladiators,” “Inside Edition,” and “Primetime Live” for ABC News.
Bill has conducted the Academy Awards orchestra 19 times, including this past year. In addition to receiving the Oscar in 1983 for his original score for “The Right Stuff,” he has also earned two nominations in the Original Song category, in 1976 for “Gonna Fly Now” from “Rocky” and in 1981 for the title song from “For Your Eyes Only.” Over the years, Conti has received a total of 12 Emmy® nominations, 11 of them for his work on Oscar shows, and he has taken home three Emmys for his work on Academy Awards telecasts.
Conti is an elegant and entertaining speaker and everyone enjoyed hearing the stories of his life at the ASMAC luncheon. One hopes that he will write his memoirs someday for the world to enjoy.
This was an interesting and informative luncheon with one of the greats!