An extraordinarily prolific composer whose productivity and versatility rank him with the likes of Ennio Morricone, Jerry Goldsmith scored well over 200 films and television programs over a career spanning nearly half a century. Goldsmith's music, which has been used for just about every imaginable film and television genre, is known in part for the composer's use of bass drums and deliberately discordant "stings" during action or suspense sequences. These stylistic trademarks were put to use with great success in 1997, with Goldsmith's score for L.A. Confidential, for which he garnered Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, as well as a new generation of fans.
A native of Los Angeles, where he was born on February 10, 1929, Goldsmith received classical training in piano and composition before studying film composition with Hollywood veteran Miklos Rozsa at the University of California. Much of Rozsa's stylistic influence was to stay with Goldsmith during his subsequent TV and radio work. After college, the young composer got a job with CBS Television's music department. He started out in the bottom ranks, working as a clerk typist, but soon was given the opportunity to put his talents to work. After writing music for various CBS radio shows, Goldsmith started scoring for television, providing music for shows like Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, Have Gun Will Travel, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and perhaps most memorably, The Twilight Zone.