Greek composer Vangelis, who was best known for his incredible film themes for Chariots of Fire and Blade Runner, has died at the age of 79.
Vangelis, born Evángelos Odysséas Papathanassíou (thank God for copy and paste because no way was I typing that), was born in Greece in 1943 and was a self taught artist who made a number of solo albums before capturing the attention of Hollywood.
His big break came with Chariots of Fire, for which he won an Oscar in 1982. This caught the attention of Ridley Scott who hired him to work on Blade Runner. Vangelis created the electronic soundscape that accompanied the film and helped capture the bleak urban future which still makes the film so influential 40 years on.
Ridley Scott has said that working with Vangelis on Blade Runner was one of the best experiences he ever had:
“I would finish editing at night and Vangelis would be in the studio with his assistant. He would have been at this all day and would play what he had created. He understood the process of films brilliantly and would literally watch sequence after sequence and start to play with it. It was a completely organic process.”
Body Of Work
Over his prolific career, Vangelis also created the music for Carl Sagan’s Cosmos and international events like the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney and the 2012 FIFA World Cup in Japan.
Vagelis worked with Scott again for his Christopher Columbus biopic 1492: Conquest of Paradise, Oliver Stone’s Alexander as well as Roman Polanski’s Bitter Moon.
Cause Of Death
Apparently Vangelis died of complications while being treated for COVID-19 in a French hospital. He was notoriously private about his life so we know very little of who he leaves behind.
I adore Vangelis’ work, so this is a gut punch for me. His score for Blade Runner is still an album I listen to on a weekly basis, especially if I need to get my head down and concentrate. Rest in peace you magnificent Greek genius.