Composer Joel Goldsmith Dead at 54

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). 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.


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The First Contact soundtrack was great! Thoughts and prayers for the Goldsmith family.

VERY sad news indeed. I didnt even know he was ill :(

I really loved the music he did for Stargate and First Contact, I will defiantly miss new projects from him.

another great loss on star trek marks the unforgiven passage of time

I love film music in general… its the voice of the movies that I love. Very sad news, he went too soon. :(

Cancer? Very sad. Horrid thing.


Sad. Seems like both he and his father died young. Two great composers and great contributors to Star Trek.

another sad loss—-goldsmiths logans run is one of the best soundtracks ever…i have an ext limited edition of that as well as first contact…brilliant use of synthizier n orchestral in logans run…alsi lived tmp soundtrack as well…here i is 57..joel has passed away way too young

joels music for the stargate franchise always made a good series much better….

It is very sad that the Goldsmiths have left us. I am very glad that their great film music will live on and continue to entertain Trekkies and film fans in general.

I have heard Joel Goldsmith’s work on Star Trek: First Contact, and even have a few tracks of his music on a compilation CD (by Silva Screen Records). At least I knew he was good. I realized how good he was when I heard his music on Stargate Universe, which is what I instantly fell in love with — both the music and the TV show. If you haven’t seen it, check it out, you’ll rediscover the magic and danger of space again :-)

Man very sad. a relatively young man

Still so young..RIP

Very sad to hear this.

My sympathhies to the family.

Like his father his music was fantastic and the additional music he did on First Contact was brilliant.

Extremely sad news! I always hoped that one day he would have been given the opportunity to follow in his fathers footsteps and compose a full score for Star Trek, but his beautifully imagined scores for Stargate Universe were wonderful. He made any drama and genre come to live with passion and meaning, A great loss to the world. RIP Joel. Thoughts go out to his family and friends.

Thats too young. Very sad indeed. And as others have said his work we top-notch. The First Contact score was terrific.

Too young to be lost to cancer…

Listening to “Flight of the Phoenix” right now. Such a tragic loss.

Heartbreaking news. It doesn’t seem that long since his father died. Joel proved himself to be a more than capable composer in his own right.

I think there’s an extra feature about the Goldsmiths on the First Contact DVD & Blu ray. I’ll be seeking that out ASAP.

I lost my Dad to cancer, at a similar age where you think they should’ve had so much more time left and I know the grief associated with that. I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to their family.

Wow, this sucks. For someone to die so yound is a tragedy, no matter how talented they are. But Mr. Goldsmith was beyond talented and we are very fortunate for his contributions to Trek.


Darn…. Joel Goldsmith apperantly died of the same cause as his father…. and so young….

At 2011`s FedCon Convention in Germany I tried to get Richard Dean Anderson to talk about Joel Goldsmith….

Although I have more CDs of his father`s work, I do own Stargate Atlantis and both scores to the DVD-Films “Stargate: The arc of truth” and “Stargate: Continuum”….

Especially “The arc of truth” is a brillaint score and I will treasure it forever…

My sincere condolenses to his family…. I just hope Jerry and Joel are now making music in heaven… they sure have a large audience there….

RIP…. Ruhe in Frieden, Maestro!

oh that is sad :(

Thank you, Joel, for making good movies great, and great movies incredible.


Seriously! We had to lose him too?!

He wrote some great music. Really great music. Such a loss. HUGE LOSS.

Well crap. Sad news indeed. :(

Thougths and prayers to the Goldsmith family. But the work of Jerry and Joel will continue to touch people for a long time to come.

R.I.P. Joel Goldsmith, thank you for your contribution to the Star Trek and Stargate franchises. Our thoughts and prayers to you and your family at this time.

:( RIP.

It’s a shame he didn’t work on any Trek TV shows. The FC score is pure class.


I think its safe to say that the Stargate television series would not be what it is without Joel’s beautiful scores in the background. I got into SG-1 coming off of many years of TNG-era Trek, where, with a few exceptions like The Best of Both Worlds, the music for the most part was was repetitive and basically one tone for about 3-4 series.

Hearing Joel’s scores for Stargate SG-1 in the background during intense action scenes or quiet, dramatic character moments was such a contrast to the monolithic tunes of TNG, DS9, Voyager and Enterprise. When I listen to what composers like Joel or Bear McCreary do for sci-fi shows like Stargate, Battlestar Galactica, Eureka, Warehouse 13 and The Walking Dead I often wonder how different Star Trek might have been if that idiot Rick Berman hadn’t had a “we MUST have bad music!” stamp on TNG-era Trek! Imagine how much more powerful episodes like Measure of a Man or Q-Who could have been if they had had composers like Joel Goldsmith working on Stargate or BSG-style music!

I often remember thinking after SGU ended that if/when MGM decides to revive Stargate that no matter WHO is involved, Joel MUST be involved because his music has been so iconic for the Stargate franchise. Nothing gets you pumped up for a new episode of Stargate like hearing Joel’s re-tooled Stargate SG-1 opening theme, or his Stargate Atlantis theme. And his scores for Stargate Universe were so beautiful and diverse and different from SG-1 that if you didn’t know it was Joel scoring the series, you’d swear it was a different composer!

And of all the Star Trek films, I think First Contact probably has my favorite music. I love First Contact’s sweeping, epic opening theme (though I think Jerry wrote that one) and I just love the music throughout the entire movie (except for maybe the use of the Klingon theme, since that theme was always used in TOS movies to signify the villanous Klingons while in TNG films they’re our allies).

RIP Joel. You will be missed. But never forgotten.

SO sad… may he rest in peace

RIP Joel. Your music will continue to enrich my life.

As others have pointed out, the younger Mr. Goldsmith’s music for Stargate was positively a revelation after years of moribund Trek scores, and was (in my opinion) a tremendous part of the franchise’s success. When my Trek audio drama, Star Trek: Excelsior, was composing its theme music, I specifically had our composer sit down and listen to a series of tracks by Joel in order to understand the energy and zest we were going for in our opening credits.

He’ll be in my prayers. So will the television and movie industries, now deprived of both Goldsmiths — an apt last name for both father and son.

Depressing day 1st Joel Goldsmith then 2nd my brother told me his girlfriends sister (32, 3 kids) has weeks to live real nice person. I’m listening to Goldsmith score(s) and then Michael Giacchino’s.

He died so young. R.I.P., Joel. May you, your music, and your father’s live long and prosper.

As someone who had only just bought the complete First Contact score the other week I find this to be truly sad news. When it (finally) reaches me I’ll be sure to give it a listen just out of respect.

Damn you cancer! Stop taking away our loved ones! Stop tearing families and friends apart! Stop your march across the face of the Earth! Just go away and leave us alone! Haven’t you done enough already?

As a person who has had cancer take away a loved one, I offer my deepest sympathies to the Goldsmith family.

Really? He really was too young. On the flip side, he is now with his dad. My best to the Goldsmith family.

That damn cancer doesn’t care what age you are. Very sad, I’ve lost a lovedone & have fought off a form of it myself so I know how vile it is.

My thoughts & sympathies.

It’s such a tragedy. I’m deeply sorry.

Rest in peace.

I loved the Stargate franchise and his work on it , along with the soundtrack to first contact.

RIP to another super-talented Goldsmith. A real shame. :(

So sorry to hear that.

Very sad news. RIP. :(

I always thought Joel Goldsmith deserved a bigger credit for ‘First Contact’ rather than the tiny, easy-to-miss ‘Additional music by…’ credit at the end, given that he scored a not-insubstantial amount of music for the film. It should have been; ‘Music by Jerry Goldsmith and Joel Goldsmith.’

A very sad loss. 54 is no age.

Sad news, I always really enjoyed his work.

Joel Goldsmith grew up across the street from my family and he was close friends with my brother all those years ago. Joel was a good person with deep sensitivity
Rest in Peace, Joel, we will always remember you.

My favorite music composition was from First Contact. Great music!! My thoughts and prayers to the Goldsmith family, his memory will live on in his music.

RIP Joel. You’ve gone far too soon.

This is sad news. I’ve always loved his music.