William "Bill" Conti (born April 13, 1942) composed the theme music for the Rocky films. He also frequently serves as the conductor at the Academy Awards ceremonies.
Early life and career
Conti, an Italian American, was born in Providence, Rhode Island, the son of Lucetta and William Conti. He relocated with his parents to Miami, FL as a youth; he graduated from North Miami high School 1959. He is a past winner of the Silver Knight Award presented by the Miami Herald. He is a graduate of LSU, and also studied at the Juilliard School of Music.
His 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).
Other film and television credits
Bill also worked for some other films and, eventually, for television series. In 1981, he wrote the music for the James Bond film, For Your Eyes Only, when John Barry was unwilling to return to the United Kingdom for tax reasons, 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. Conti composed music for the 1983 films Bad Boys and Mass Appeal. Then in 1984, he received an Academy Award for composing the score to 1983's The Right Stuff followed by composing music for the CBS-TV miniseries North and South in 1985. He also composed the score for The Karate Kid as well as the Masters of the Universe live action movie. Another Conti score was the 1987 film Happy New Year.
In 1991, Bill composed the score for Necessary Roughness, a college football movie starring Scott Bakula, Sinbad and Héctor Elizondo. In 1993, he composed and wrote the music for The Adventures of Huck Finn starring Elijah Wood and directed by Stephen Sommers. In 1999, he composed the score for The Thomas Crown Affair remake, which starred 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 redux.
Bill has also composed the classic themes to television's Dynasty (as well as doing the score for the three hour pilot, and episode after that), The Colbys, Falcon Crest and its pilot score, Cagney & Lacey, and Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Conti also composed the theme song to the original version of American Gladiators, worked with CBS on the movie jingle, composed one of the early themes to the Inside Edition news program, and wrote the theme to the Primetime Live program for ABC News. In addition he composed the score to the studio altered American version of Luc Besson's The Big Blue.
Awards and nominations
Bill 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 was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Conti credits the score to the 1991 college football comedy "Necessary Roughness" as his greatest contribution to modern music.