2017-12-27 21:53:31 UTC
December 23, 2017 6:16PM PT
Dominic Frontiere, Composer for 'The Outer Limits,' 'The Flying Nun,'
Dies at 86
By Jon Burlingame
Dominic Frontiere, Emmy-winning composer of such classic TV themes as
"The Outer Limits," "The Flying Nun" and "The Rat Patrol," died
Thursday [Dec 21 2017] in Tesuque, N.M. He was 86.
Frontiere was a fixture on the film- and TV-music scene throughout the
1960s, '70s and '80s, composing hundreds of hours of music, mostly for
TV but also for films including "Hang 'Em High," "Cancel My
Reservation," "Hammersmith Is Out," "Freebie and the Bean," and "The
Aviator." He won a Golden Globe award for his score for "The Stunt Man"
He also won an Emmy as musical director of "Swing Out, Sweet Land," a
patriotic TV special hosted by John Wayne in 1970. He scored three
films for Wayne: "Chisum," "The Train Robbers" and "Brannigan."
Frontiere's TV work dominated, however, including themes and scores for
many series including "The New Breed," "That Girl," "Stoney Burke," "12
O'Clock High," "Branded," "The Invaders," "The Immortal," "Search,"
"Vega$" and "Matt Houston."
His largest-scale work for TV was the 12-hour miniseries "Washington:
Behind Closed Doors," composed during his stint as head of music for
Paramount in the mid-1970s. His other TV movies included "Probe,"
"Haunts of the Very Rich" and "Palomino."
Frontiere was born June 17, 1931, in New Haven, Conn., and played both
violin and accordion as a youngster. He performed with Horace Heidt's
big band in the late 1940s and early 1950s, moving to Hollywood where
he met fellow New Haven native Alfred Newman, then music director at
Newman took him under his wing ("he was like a father to me," Frontiere
once said), gave him jobs as an accordion player on many Fox films, and
guided his career as a budding composer and arranger in the late 1950s
and early '60s.
Frontiere launched his composing career at Fox in 1960-61 with the
films "Seven Thieves," "One Foot in Hell" and "The Marriage-Go-Round."
With "The Marriage-Go-Round" he began a long partnership with
writer-producer Leslie Stevens that later encompassed several TV series
including "Stoney Burke," "The Outer Limits," "The Name of the Game,"
"Search" and several pilots.
He was also active on the recording front, composing the 1959 "Pagan
Festival," a classic in the exotica field; and "Love Eyes," a 1960
mood-music album. He later did arrangements for pop, rock and soul
artists including Gladys Knight, Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, and The Tubes.
Frontiere's career was temporarily derailed in 1986 when he was
sentenced to a year in federal prison for filing a false income tax
return and lying to IRS investigators to conceal his role in scalping
tickets to the 1980 Super Bowl. At the time, his wife Georgia Frontiere
was owner of the Los Angeles Rams.
He served only a few months in prison and resumed his composing career
in 1987. He and Georgia were divorced in 1988; she died in 2008.
"The Color of Night," which earned him a 1994 Golden Globe nomination
for best song, was his last film credit. He moved to New Mexico in the
1990s and continued to work in the electronic-music medium.
Survivors include his wife Robin, and five children. Donations in his
name may be made to the Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation or Little Kids