Yesterday word started fluttering about Facebook amongst film music fans that Ken Thorne passed away. Ken’s name may not be well known outside of film score aficionados or die hard film buffs, but his contribution is no less important, and he couldn’t have been a nicer guy.
I only had the opportunity to meet Ken once. He attended the Fans of Film Music event back in 2011 where he sat on a panel of great composers such as Brad Fiedel, David Newman, Brian Tyler, Nicholas Pike, Christopher Young, and Lee Holdridge. At 87, the elder statesman of the group not only charmed the audience with his gentlemanly ways, but he also charmed his fellow panelists.
Since you were wondering, Ken’s contribution to film began in 1948 with British fare that later included Help! starring 4 lads from Liverpool which later led to his work on Head, a movie starring the Beatles influenced band The Monkees (a film co-written by Jack Nicholson no less). He could do comedy like Alan Arkin’s Inspector Clouseau, he was a master at adaptation taking John Williams’ themes to build new scores for Christopher Reeve’s Superman II and Superman III, and he could do action with Tom Selleck’s 1980s film Lassiter. Somewhere along the line (1967) he managed to win an Oscar for his work on A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
That day I met Ken, I sat in the audience caricaturing each of the panelists. This drawing of Ken was posted back then along with the other panelists (which you can revisit by clicking here), and I thought I’d share it once again here today.
Seek out Ken’s work. You’ll find a treat waiting for you!