Editor’s Note: Before we get to our regularly scheduled programming, extension of a short farewell is more than in order to Ennio Morricone, the prolific Italian composer who scored literally hundreds of films, who died July 6 in Rome. He was 91.
Enough said that Morricone was perhaps the most influential composer of movie music ever. With the possible exception of Bernard Herrmann, who scored Psycho and other Alfred Hitchcock outings, Morricone was unparalleled for his startling, inventive and supremely melodic scores for many of the world’s biggest directors. His work was so virtuosic that his scores often upstaged all else — audiences often left theaters forgetting the plot and the actors but humming the music.
Morricone was no snob. He was a working composer who scored many, many films sneered at by mainstream critics. His most fruitful association was with his former schoolmate, Sergio Leone, the renowned “spaghetti western” creator of such classics as 1966’s The Good, the Bad and the Ugly and 1968’s Once Upon A Time in the West. The scores for both pictures have been recorded many times, and we suggest a close listen to cellist Yo-Yo Ma’s 2004 album of many Morricone compositions. Exquisite.
Ennio Morricone, R.I.P.
Now, back to our scheduled programming:
A leading man for a dozen years, but never made the BIG TIME.
He worked with top stars. He appeared with Rita Hayworth in 1944’s Cover Girl, and made something of a splash as Jean Arthur’s estranged husband in 1944’s The Impatient Years. He was then described (a bit off the mark) as a “very hot commodity in Hollywood.”
Born in Cincinnati in 1914, Lee Bowman dropped out of law school to take up acting at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He was spotted by a Paramount scout, and found himself in Hollywood in 1934, where his acting aspirations stalled. Instead, Bowman kept himself busy as a singer on radio and an actor in stock plays.
His film debut came in 1937’s I Met Him in Paris.
His participation in 1947’s Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman starring Susan Hayward is probably the peak of his bigscreen career. It’s a semi-film noir treatment of married nightclub singers, one of whom is engaged with a battle of the bottle. (In all, Bowman rackled up some 70 movie and tv credits, mostly in the latter.)
Bowman worked a ton in radio and tv after the movie roles stopped coming. In the early Sixties he found himself with an unusual costar — middleweight boxer Rocky Graziano — in the Miami Undercover tube series. The actor also enjoyed a fruitful life after 1968 when, retired from show biz, he himself up as a communications consultant to politicians.
Bowman died in 1979 at the age of 64.