World Cup theme composer dies as family pay tribute to 'astonishing legacy'

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World Cup theme composer dies as family pay tribute to
World Cup theme composer dies as family pay tribute to 'astonishing legacy'

An award-winning musician famous for composing the 2006 World Cup theme has died at the age of 86, his family have said.

Carl Davis wrote music for more than 200 films and TV programmes in his long career, such as BBC adaptations of Pride and Prejudice, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Oppenheimer and The Pickwick Papers.

He also composed music for hit shows such as Upstairs Downstairs and won a BAFTA and Ivor Novello Award for his score to 1981 film The French Lieutenant's Woman starring Meryl Streep.

A statement from his family said: "We are heartbroken to announce that Carl Davis (CBE) passed away this morning, following a brain haemorrhage."

World Cup theme composer dies as family pay tribute to 'astonishing legacy' eideziqkeiqhhinvRenowned composer Carl Davis has died at the age of 86 (Paul Thomas)

The statement added: "We are so proud that Carl's legacy will be his astonishing impact on music. A consummate all-round musician, he was the driving force behind the reinvention of the silent movie for this generation and he wrote scores for some of the most loved and remembered British television dramas.

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"He was a conductor and composer of symphonic works, as well as a notable writer for the ballet. In 2005, he was awarded a CBE (Hon).

"A beloved father, grandfather and husband, Carl married the actress Jean Boht in 1970. They have two daughters, Hannah and Jessie and three grandchildren, Molly, Fred and Alice.

"The family would like to send their grateful thanks to the paramedics who assisted Carl and the neurological team at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford."

Born in Brooklyn, New York in 1936, Carl got his big break co-authoring the music to Off-Broadway play Diversions, which won an Emmy. Further commissions followed and he ended up moving to London in 1960 to launch a music career in the UK.

Finding himself at the heart of England's theatre, TV and film scene, he composed scores for the National Theatre and The Royal Shakespeare Company, as well as TV shows like The World at War and Goodnight Mister Tom.

He created a score for Abel Gance's epic film Napoleon, a performance so unique it kickstarted a global revival of silent film performances with live orchestras. Carl later went on to reconstruct over 50 silent films ranging from Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton.

In addition to being a composer, Carl was a conductor and recently wrote the music for two brand new ballets, The Great Gatsby for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre in the US and Chaplin: The Tramp for the Slovak National Ballet.

He is survived by his actress wife Jean Boht, 91, most famous for playing Nellie Boswell in British sitcom Bread, their two daughters and three grandchildren.

Katie Wilson

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