He was born on 4th April 1922 in New York City. As a child he was a dancer and an actor as well as winning several prizes for painting.
He studied at the Walden School and New York University and was given a scholarship in piano when he was 12. After playing for Aaron Copland, he selected a piano teacher for him.
He started his career as a concert pianist before concentrating on composition. He wrote the themes to over 200 films and TV shows and received Golden Globes for To Kill a Mockingbird and Hawaii, an Emmy for the score of The Making of the President, five Grammy nominations and 2 Tony awards. He also received 14 Academy Award nominations and won once for Thoroughly Modern Millie as well as receiving a Lifetime Achievement award, and was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
He was gray-listed in the McCarthy era but managed to still work on low budget science fiction films.
He died in his sleep on 18th August 2004 at his home in Ojai , California .
Theme from Katie Elder (Elmer Bernstein)
Columbia, 4-43357, RZSP 72628 (US 45)
Conductor – Elmer Bernstein
Here he is conducting his theme from The Magnificent Seven at the BBC Proms…