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Alex North 1910-1991

Born Isadore Soifer in Chester, Pennsylvania, Alex North was a modern composer who wove contemporary concert music and jazz into American films. A political radical and proponent of modern music, North rose to prominence during the 1930s as an avant-garde composer both in America and the Soviet Union. In 1951, he was invited to Hollywood to score the film version of A Streetcar Named Desire, which resulted in the first jazz score to be completely integrated into an onscreen drama. Some of North's best-known film scores include The Rainmaker (1956), Spartacus (1960), The Misfits (1961), Cleopatra (1963), Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966), and The Devil's Brigade (1968). During his career, he received 15 Oscar nominations and a Lifetime Achievement Oscar for his work in the film industry. Though not created for the screen, North also composed the music to the world-famous song, "Unchained Melody" (1936).