Photo of John Williams conducting 'Raiders of the Lost Arc' via Wikimedia Commons.
Photo of John Williams conducting ‘Raiders of the Lost Arc’ via Wikimedia Commons.

That terrifying shark and the galaxy far, far away just wouldn’t be the same without those “genius” music themes that are the “soundtrack of your life,” always running through your mind.

So Oscar winner John Williams, best known for scoring “Star Wars,” “Jaws” and an array of Steven Spielberg classics, will become the first composer Thursday night to receive the American Film Institute Life Achievement Award.

Spielberg will present Williams with the 44th annual AFI Award during a gala event at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. The award is billed by AFI as “America’s highest honor for a career in film.”

The gala will be taped to air on TNT and Turner Classic Movies.

“John Williams has written the soundtrack to our lives,” said Howard Stringer, chair of the AFI Board of Trustees. “Note by note, through chord and chorus, his genius for marrying music with movies has elevated the art form to symphonic levels and inspired generations of audiences to be enriched by the magic of the movies.”

Williams, 84, has amassed more than 150 film and television series credits over seven decades and is known for his collaborations with Spielberg, including “Jaws” (1975) “E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982) and “Schindler’s List” (1993). Williams won Oscars for all three of those films, and for “Fiddler on the Roof” and “Star Wars.”

Three of Williams’ scores landed on AFI’s list of the 25 greatest American film scores of all time, including the 1977 “Star Wars” soundtrack at number one.

With five Academy Award wins and 50 nominations in total, Williams holds the record for the most Oscar nominations of any living person. He ranks second overall, behind only Walt Disney.

Previous recipients of the AFI Award include Steve Martin, Mel Brooks, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.

—City News Service

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