Fred Steiner composed some of the most memorable musical scores in Hollywood, including themes used on multiple episodes of the original Star Trek. Steiner has passed away at the age of 88.
In addition to his work on classic Trek, Steiner composed the theme for TV’s Perry Mason as well as the Oscar nominated score for The Color Purple.
Steiner died of natural causes Thursday at his home in the town of Ajijic in the Mexican state of Jalisco, his daughter Wendy Waldman told The Los Angeles Times. He was 88.
Steiner was in high demand during the 1950s and 1960s. working on music for Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Have Gun Will Travel, Rawhide and several other television series. He also created many of the themes from Rocky and Friends, which later become the Bullwinkle Show.
Steiner’s 1974 essay on Bernard Herrmann’s Psycho was the earliest known musicological analysis of a film score, and he earned a Ph.D. in 1981 after writing a dissertation on the life and music of Alfred Newman — believed to be the first about a film composer to result in a doctorate in musicology in America.
Steiner was one of the founders of the Society for the Preservation of Film Music, now known as the Film Music Society, and he served on its board for many years. He also conducted several albums of classic film music by Max Steiner (no relation), Alfred Newman, Bernard Herrmann and the Star Trek composers.