It was on this day, April 13, 1942, American film music composer, and frequently the conductor at the Academy Awards ceremony, William “Bill” Conti was born.
Conti’s big break into celebrity came in 1976, 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).
Conti also worked for some other films and, eventually, for television series. In 1983, he composed the score for HBO’s first film, The Terry Fox Story. Conti composed music for the films Bad Boys and Mass Appeal. In 1991, he composed the score for Necessary Roughness, a college football movie starring Scott Bakula, Sinbad and Héctor Elizondo. In 1999, he composed the score for The Thomas Crown Affair remake, starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo; in the same year he composed the original music of Inferno, starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and co-starring late actor Pat Morita from another Conti scored movie, The Karate Kid.
Bill Conti has received many award nominations for his work. He received a Best Song nomination for “Gonna Fly Now.” He won an Oscar for the largely symphonic score for The Right Stuff. On April 22, 2008 before a packed house at the LSU Union Theatre at Louisiana State University, Bill Conti was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Bill Conti credits the score to the 1991 college football comedy “Necessary Roughness” as his greatest contribution to modern music.