Legendary composer John Williams is 90 years old. He’s written music for over 150 movies, with several pieces becoming so iconic and recognisable, people know them even if they haven’t seen the film. He’s largely regarded as the greatest composer in the history of cinema, but his career may soon be coming to an end.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Williams revealed that he’s strongly considering retiring after he completes the music for the still-untitled Indiana Jones 5, which is out next summer. “At the moment I’m working on Indiana Jones 5, which Harrison Ford — who’s quite a bit younger than I am — I think has announced will be his last film,” Williams said. “So, I thought: if Harrison can do it, then perhaps I can, also.” The AP notes that Ford himself hasn’t said that publicly, but Williams just did, and so we’ll concentrate on that.
Williams explains that movies can take up to six months of work at a time and, at 90, that’s a much bigger chunk of your remaining life than it was decades before. So instead, he’d prefer to write music not for feature films. But, never say never. “I don’t want to be seen as categorically eliminating any activity,” Williams said. “I can’t play tennis, but I like to be able to believe that maybe one day I will.”
The man behind the music of Jaws, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park, Superman, and a hundred others lives in Los Angeles, CA, and, if you happen to live in the area, you often have the chance to see him at an event. For example, every summer, the Hollywood Bowl puts on multiple nights of Williams’ music. However in recent years, what went from a full night of Williams conducting became half a night. And every time he walks off stage and returns for an encore, the walk gets a little bit slower.
Which is why this news isn’t necessarily surprising. Most people retire in their 60s or 70s, not 90s. So even in the worst-case scenario, fans got at least 20 more years of John Williams’ film scores than we probably should have. And we may still get more. But if Indiana Jones 5 is the end, Williams deserves it. He’s not just one of our greatest film composers, he’s one of our greatest artists, period.
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