Ernest Gold
Ernst Sigmund Goldner

(1921-07-13)July 13, 1921
Vienna, Austria
DiedMarch 17, 1999(1999-03-17) (aged 77)
(m. 1950; div. 1969)
Jan Keller
(m. 1975)
Children3, including Andrew Gold

Ernst Sigmund Goldner (July 13, 1921 – March 17, 1999), known professionally as Ernest Gold, was an Austrian-born American composer. He is most noted for his work on the film Exodus produced in 1960.

Early life

Gold was born in 1921 in Vienna, the son of Elisabeth (Stransky) and Gustav Goldner. Gold's father's mother (Jaiteles) had ancestry from Szeged, Hungary[1][2] and mother's mother (Therese Sprung) from Temesvár[3] and Budapest (Spitzer).[4][5] Gold came from a musical family. His father played the violin, and his mother sang.[6] His father also studied under Richard Heuberger.[7] Gold said he learned to read music before he learned to read words.[7] He studied violin and piano when he was six and began composing music at eight. By 13, he had written an entire opera.[4] As a child, he said he wanted to go to Hollywood and be a composer.[8]: 24  Gold would go to movie theaters as a teenager, not only to watch the films but to listen to the musical score. Among prominent film composers of the time, he admired Max Steiner.[7]

In 1938, Gold attended the Viennese Akademie für Musik und darstellende Kunst, but he and his family moved to the U.S. after the Nazi Anschluss in Austria, because of the family's Jewish heritage.[4] In New York City, Gold earned money by working as an accompanist and writing popular songs. He also studied with Otto Cesana and Léon Barzin at the National Orchestra Association.[7]


NBC Orchestra performed Gold's first symphony in 1939, only a year after he moved to the United States.[4] In 1941, he composed a symphony that
was later played at Carnegie Hall in 1945.[7] Gold moved to Hollywood in the same year to work with Columbia Pictures, his first significant role being
the score for the melodrama Girl of the Limberlost (1945). After this, Gold wrote scores for other minor films.[4] For the next ten years, he worked on
B movies, mainly orchestrating and arranging music for western movies and melodramas.[6]

In 1955, Stanley Kramer asked Gold to orchestrate Not as a Stranger for which George Antheil had composed the music. This production opened the door for Gold to work with other scores by Antheil and to orchestrate more of Kramer's films.[4] Gold worked on almost every film Kramer made, including A Child Is Waiting and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.[6] Gold produced his first original film score in 1958 for Too Much, Too Soon. His big break came in 1959, when he was asked to score On the Beach after Antheil became ill and recommended Gold for the job.[7]

Gold is most widely recognized for composing the score of Exodus (1960).[4] He was contracted by Otto Preminger and, atypically, was able to watch the movie being filmed.[6] Gold spent time in Israel while writing the score.[8]: 26 

In 1968, Gold wrote a Broadway musical[4] called I'm Solomon.[9] He also wrote music for television.[6] In his later life, Gold was musical director of the Santa Barbara Symphony Orchestra and founded the Los Angeles Senior Citizens Orchestra.[4] His concert works include a piano concerto, a string quartet, and a piano sonata. Moby sampled Gold's "Fight for Survival" from Exodus for his song Porcelain.[10]


Gold's contributions were recognized with Academy Award nominations and Golden Globe nominations.

Personal life

Gold was married to singer and actress Marni Nixon from 1950 to 1969. They had three children: musician Andrew Gold (composer of "Lonely Boy"
and "Thank You for Being a Friend"), Martha Carr, and Melani Gold.[11] [14] [15] Gold was married to Jan Keller Gold from 1975 until his death.[16]

Ernest Gold died March 17, 1999, in Santa Monica, California, at 77 from complications following a stroke.[4][17]

Selected filmography


  1. ^ "Alice Goldner". 8 September 1865.
  2. ^ "Heinrich Spitzer". 15 September 1830.
  3. ^ "Therese Spitzer". 16 February 1840.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Obituary: Ernest Gold". The Independent. 1999-03-30. Retrieved 2013-12-17.
  5. ^ Gruber, Orpheus Trust, Dr. Primavera. "Orpheus Trust - Verein zur Erforschung und Veröffentlichung vertriebener und vergessener Kunst". web)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. ^ a b c d e Eder, Bruce. "Artist Biography". All Music. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Thomas, Tony (March 1992). Film Score. Riverwood Press. pp. 47–55. ISBN 9781880756010.
  8. ^ a b Thomas, Tony (October 1997). Music for the Movies. Silman-James Pr. ISBN 9781879505377.
  9. ^ "I'm Solomon". Playbill. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  10. ^ "Moby's 'Porcelain' - Discover the Sample Source". WhoSampled. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  11. ^ a b "Biography". Ernest Gold. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Exodus (1960) Awards". IMDb. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  13. ^ "Gold, Ernest". Oxford Music Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  14. ^ Cross, Lucy. "Marni Nixon". Masterworks Broadway. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  15. ^ Nixon, Marni (Sep 2006). I Could Have Sung All Night: My Story. Billboard Books. ISBN 9780823083657. Retrieved 21 June 2016. divorce.
  16. ^ "Ernest Gold". Monstrous Movie Music. Retrieved 21 June 2016.
  17. ^ "Ernest Gold, 77, Oscar-Winning Composer". The New York Times. 1999-03-21. Retrieved 2013-12-17.