By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Lalo Schifrin Gets An 85th Birthday Concert

Musicians at Play, Musicians Fund Los Angeles, in association with Varese Sarabande present Mission: Impossible’ Composer Lalo Schifrin’s 85th Birthday Concert October 7 at the Alex Theater in Glendale, CA

Legendary composer, musician, conductor and six-time Oscar nominee Lalo Schifrin (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE) will celebrate his 85th birthday with a special concert in his honor Oct. 7 at the Alex, 216 North Brand Boulevard in Glendale.  Musicians at Play Foundation and AFM Local 47’s Music Fund of Los Angeles are presenting the event in association with Varese Sarabande. Proceeds from the concert benefit music education in schools and assist professional musicians in crisis.  The concert will feature special guests including Oscar winning Composer Michael Giacchino (UP) and Oscar-winning songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman (“Windmills of Your Mind,” “The Way We Were”) and several surprises. Tickets available through (818) 243-ALEX (2539) or visit www.alextheatre.org

The concert will be conducted by Chris Walden and feature an all-star big band performing many of Schifrin’s best-known works. The event is hosted by Robert Townson of Varese Sarabande. “Lalo is one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, and when it comes to film music he has always been the epitome of cool at the movies,” describes Townson.

Local 47 President John Acosta explains the significance of the concert, “This is the inaugural concert by the AFM and Local 47 to celebrate a composer and their legacy. Lalo has been a member of the union for nearly 50 years since coming to the U.S. Thousands of AFM members have worked with him and there is a real connection with the music community. Lalo Schifrin is an inspiration and we are thrilled to honor him.”

Lalo Schifrin has scored over 100 films, including BULLIT, COOL HAND LUKE, DIRTY HARRY, THE CINCINNATI KID and the COMPETITION, and he is best known for his MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE theme.  Originally from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Schifrin began studying piano with at the age of 6. At 20, he won a scholarship to study music at the Paris Conservatory.  After moving to the U.S., Schifrin performed and arranged music for both Dizzy Gillespie and Xavier Cugat before composing for film and television.

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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook