X-Men Movie Composer Michael Kamen Dead at 55

Sad news to report: Michael Kamen, composer to such hit films as X-Men, Die Hard and License To Kill, died today at age 55.
Oscar-nominated composer, conductor and arranger Michael Kamen died this morning (Nov. 18) after suffering from multiple sclerosis for several years, his agent said. He was 55. Further details were not immediately available.

One of Hollywood's most successful composers, Kamen worked on music for the "Lethal Weapon" series and scored "Die Hard," among many other films. He was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1996, but did not go public about the disease until late September.

Kamen grew up in Queens, the son of liberal activists. In the late 1960s, he helped found the New York Rock'n'Roll Ensemble. In the 1970s, he scored ballets, served as musical director for David Bowie's Diamond Dogs tour and began writing scores for film.

Although he began in Hollywood working on offbeat films like "Polyester" and "Brazil," he turned more mainstream in the 1980s, working on the "Lethal Weapon" series, "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves," "Mr. Holland's Opus" and "X-Men," plus the HBO series "Band of Brothers."

In 1999, Kamen conducted the San Francisco Orchestra as it backed hard rock act Metallica on its live "S&M" project. Recorded across two concerts that reworked the band's canon for symphonic arrangement, the resulting album peaked at No. 2 and has sold 2.6 million copies in the U.S., according to Nielsen SoundScan.
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