Joel Goldsmith, son of famed film composer Jerry Goldsmith and a talented composer in his own right, died of cancer at the age of 54. Joel was the eldest of six children by Jerry Goldsmith, and he reportedly began assisting his father with electronics in his scores as early as 1976 on the science fiction adventure Logan’s Run.
Joel Goldsmith – 1957 – 2012
Around the same time Joel began working in film as a boom operator and sound mixer on films like Joe Dante’s Piranha. Joel frequently assisted his father as Jerry Goldsmith expanded the range of his electronic music palette on scores like Runaway (the score of which Joel Goldsmith co-produced) and Hoosiers.
Joel made two important contributions to the Star Trek feature film franchise. With Alan Howarth and others he worked to develop electronic sound effects for 1979’s Star Trek – The Motion Picture, which featured an Oscar-nominated score by his father. In 1996 Jerry Goldsmith found himself in the middle of delays and rescores on the adventure film The Ghost and the Darkness just as he was beginning to prepare to score the second Next Generation feature film, Star Trek First Contact. Goldsmith called in Joel to assist him on the project and wound up writing a substantial amount of the score, particularly a number of the cues involving the Borg’s takeover of the Enterprise as well as the film’s climactic action involving the flight of the first warp drive ship Phoenix and Picard and Data’s struggle with the Borg Queen on the Enterprise. GNP Records recently released an expanded album of the score that includes all of Joel Goldsmith’s contributions, including the climactic cue, “Flight of the Phoenix.”
Joel Goldsmith is probably more familiar to fans for his contributions to a different “Star” franchise—he wrote scores for an astonishing 350 episodes of Syfy’s Stargate series including Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis and Stargate: Universe. Joel wrote the title music for the latter two series, and earned three Emmy Award nominations for his work on Stargate: Atlantis and Stargate: Universe.
Joel Goldsmith had a talent for dramatically powerful television themes, including one for the Witchblade and Sanctuary TV shows and a terrific theme for the short-lived 1993 show The Untouchables. Joel had his father’s gift for working in the sci-fi and fantasy genres, something that went back to his early collaborative work with composer Richard Band (both worked on the score to the 1978 film Laserblast and 1980’s The Day Time Ended). He provided a droll electronic score to Steve Martin’s sci-fi-themed comedy The Man With Two Brains in 1983 and wrote a stupendous full-on orchestral score to Roland Emmerich’s 1990 sci-fi adventure Moon 44, a work that showed the younger Goldsmith just as capable of working on a large-scale action canvas as his father was. He continued to collaborate with Jerry Goldsmith on television projects like H.E.L.P. and Brotherhood of the Gun while tackling further genre works like the 1996 direct-to-video movie Vampirella, episodes of the revived 1997 Outer Limits TV series, and the sword and sorcery adventure Kull the Conquerer. He also easily handled dramas and comedies like Man’s Best Friend (1993), Shiloh (1996), Shadow of a Doubt (1998) and Diamonds (1999).
Trekmovie.com extends its sympathies to Joel Goldsmith’s family and his fans.
Jeff Bond is the author of “The Music of Star Trek” and “Danse Macabre: 25 Years of Danny Elfman and Tim Burton“; he covers film music for The Hollywood Reporter.