I woke up this morning to the sad news that Gerald Fried died on Friday, February 17. He had just turned 95 on the 13th.
Please see Jon Burlingame’s Variety obituary.
“Gerry” was a lovely guy and we crossed paths with him quite a bit. Like most Trekkies and TV junkies of my generation, his music has been a seminal part of my life.
He had such a distinct style—he said he got his sense of rhythm from loving the “pulse” in Mozart’s music—that you always knew when it was a Gerald Fried score.
Between Star Trek, Roots, Gilligan’s Island, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Mission: Impossible, endless TV movies and his classic scores for Kubrick (a childhood friend in the Bronx), his music was just everywhere and always a welcome, familiar sound.
When we released the La-La Land box set for Star Trek: TOS in 2012, and had a celebratory screening/release party at the Egyptian, Gerry came and memorably played this suite of his themes on oboe for the adoring crowd. It seemed at the time like a very special thing to witness and enjoy—and it was!
I was proud to have had a hand in a number of CD releases of his music, especially the Man From U.N.C.L.E. albums produced by Jon Burlingame. One early FSM 2CD set, featuring The Return of Dracula, Mark of the Vampire, I Bury the Living and The Cabinet of Caligari, is still available.
Here’s an interview segment (there’s more online) talking about his scores for Star Trek:
That’s pretty much what he was like: cheerful, soft-spoken, a bit shy, but happy to expound on things that delighted him.
I remember, somewhat randomly, the first time I met him, he was still in Los Angeles (he soon moved to New Mexico, then in recent years to Connecticut) and I connected with him at UCLA. I don’t remember why—maybe he was teaching?—but perhaps it had something to do with the aforementioned FSM CD and picking up master DATs? Yes, I think that was it.
What I mostly remember is that he had this weed wacker (spring trimmer) with him, for yard work. So he was a little guy with a little car and a big weed wacker. And it was funny how he said “weed wacker” with his Bronx accent.
Folks, this is why you read this blog!
He called me within the past year or two, I think looking for somebody else’s number, which I was happy to provide.
He was a sweetheart and a legend and we will miss him. Farewell Gerry!