7 Nominations

2 Wins

Elmer Bernstein

Composer-conductor Elmer Bernstein, who was born on April 4, 1922, in New York City, won two Golden Globe awards for Best Score – Motion Picture. He won for the legal drama To Kill a Mockingbird in 1963 and for the epic drama Hawaii in 1967.

Born to Jewish parents Edward from Austria-Hungary and Selma (nee Feinstein) from Ukraine, Bernstein already displayed his artistic inclinations during his childhood. He performed professionally as a dancer, an actor and won many awards as a painter.

He was drafted into the United States Army Forces during the World War II era and wrote music for the Armed Forces Radio.

In a career that spanned over five decades, he composed the theme songs and other music and arranged scores for more than 200 films and TV shows, including Robot Monster (1953), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955), The Ten Commandments (1956), Sweet Smell of Success (1957), The Magnificent Seven (1960), To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), The Great Escape (1963), Hud (1963), The World of Henry Orient (1964), Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), True Grit (1969), Ghostbusters (1984), My Left Foot (1989), The Grifters (1990), Cape Fear (1991), Twilight (1998) and Far from Heaven (2002).

Although he is always mistaken as related to composer-conductor Leonard Bernstein, they are not. They are friends and distinguished from each other with the nicknames Bernstein West (Elmer of Los Angeles) and Bernstein East (Leonard of New York City). They also pronounce their surnames differently – Elmer’s is “BERN-steen” while Leonard’s is “BERN-styne.”

He studied composition under Aaron Copland, Roger Sessions and Stefan Wolpe.

He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP), an honorary Doctorate of Music from Five Towns College in New York and was honored by the American Film Institute (AFI).

He was the subject of “This Is Your Life” in 2003 at London’s Royal Albert Hall.

A heavy cigarette smoker for most of his life, he died of cancer at his home in Ojai, California on August 18, 2004 at the age of 82.

Golden Globe Awards