Miles Goodman

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Miles Goodman
Elliott Miles Goodman

August 27, 1948[1]
DiedAugust 16, 1996(1996-08-16) (aged 47)
Alma materAntioch College
OccupationComposer, record producer
Years active1975–1996

Elliott Miles Goodman (August 27, 1948 – August 16, 1996) was an American composer for television and film. He is best remembered for his frequent collaboration with film director Frank Oz, for whom Goodman scored such films as Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), What About Bob? (1991) and Housesitter (1992). For his score to Oz's Little Shop of Horrors (1986), Goodman was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score.

Early life and education[edit]

Goodman was born in August 27, 1948[1] in Los Angeles.[2][3][4][5][6][7] He graduated from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, in 1972 with a degree in English.[2][3][4][5][6][7] In 1969, he studied Shakespeare in London.[3][4][5][6][7]

Goodman became interested in film scoring through his cousin, Johnny Mandel, an Oscar-winning film composer.[2][3][8] Goodman at first planned to become a director, despite his strong and eclectic taste in jazz and other music. But composing for film intervened in conversations with Mandel.[4][5][6] As a result, Goodman returned to Los Angeles and studied music and film scoring with private teachers including Albert Harris.[4][5][6]

"He was very eclectic in his musical tastes. Before film scoring he was very attracted to jazz, Brazilian music and theater. He started life as a songwriter," Mandel said.[3] Mandel would serve as a mentor for Goodman.[7]


When Goodman relocated to Hollywood, he met Oscar Castro-Neves, who became his friend and music partner. They worked together for 30 years.[2][3] "He started from ground zero, (learning) 'This is a middle C,' and became . . . a great musician," said Castro-Neves. "He was a very inspired composer with a great ability to write melodies and a great orchestral talent."[3][4][5]

By the mid-1970s, Goodman did his first film projects as composer for such films as Slumber Party '57 (1976).[7]

In 1979, Goodman arranged orchestrations on the Peter Sellers comedy Being There for Mandel. Goodman and Mandel would continue to collaborate with each other over the next few years, most notably to score Sidney Lumet's Oscar-nominated film, The Verdict (1982).[7] He later composed the score for Teen Wolf (1985), starring Michael J. Fox.[9]

He also orchestrated or scored music for Footloose (1984), About Last Night (1986), Little Shop of Horrors (1986), La Bamba (1987), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988), Problem Child (1990), What About Bob? (1991), Housesitter (1992), Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993), Dunston Checks In (1996), Larger Than Life (1996) and 'Til There Was You (1997), the latter two released posthumously.[2][10][11][12] Working so often in films under the genre of comedy manifested Goodman's reputation as the "King of Comedy."[7] Variety praised Goodman's score for Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, calling it "a great, imitative '30s jazzy score."[13] Goodman also composed music for the 1989 Australian film, The Delinquents.[14]

When a friend suggested to Goodman that he try producing records, he conceived an album of contemporary Brazilian music with harmonica great Toota Toots Thielemans titled The Brasil Project.[4][5][6][8][11]

Goodman and Castro-Neves were also co-producers of a series of well-reviewed jazz albums. They arranged 12 selections for the successful The Billie Holiday Songbook and for Color and Light: Jazz Sketches on Sondheim,[11] which featured jazz artists interpreting the works of Stephen Sondheim.[2][15] Color and Light: Jazz Sketches of Sondheim was produced by Goodman and Castro-Neves in 1995 and was highly praised. The album was named one of the year's top five albums by Time and reached No. 6 on Billboard's jazz charts.[4][5][6][16] The Billie Holiday Songbook, featuring trumpeter Terence Blanchard, was also a hit with critics and customers.[4]

"Working with Miles Goodman was also a great experience with me," Blanchard said. Blanchard considered Goodman his mentor. According to Blanchard, they met when Goodman hired him to play on the soundtrack for his score to Housesitter. They remained friends until Goodman's death.[7]

Goodman and Blanchard have collaborated with Brazilian vocalist and pianist Ivan Lins.[17] Goodman had also produced the album, A Brazilian Christmas, as well as having produced discs by Vanessa Rubin.[11] Goodman and Castro-Neves had also worked on a project of an audio-only series of classic children's stories narrated over newly composed music with other artists.[18]

He even completed work on several albums that were scheduled for release by 1997 that featured such artists as cellist Yo-Yo Ma, soprano Kathleen Battle and pianist Ottmar Liebert.[3][4]

According to Frank Oz, Goodman completed and recorded a full score for the film, The Indian in the Cupboard (1995), but it was rejected and replaced by Randy Edelman's score as a result. Oz also claimed to have asked Goodman just before his death to do the music for his subsequent film In & Out (1997).[19]

In January 1996, Goodman and Blanchard were hired to score the romantic comedy, 'Til There Was You (1997), released by Paramount Pictures. Director Scott Winant approved the duo, thinking the comical mastery of Goodman and the jazzy romance of Blanchard would make the perfect combination. Blanchard was even excited about collaborating with his friend and mentor that he rearranged his summer tour of The Heart Speaks around Goodman's ever-busy scoring schedule.[7]

On November 18, 1996, Goodman was posthumously awarded the SOCAN Film Music Award by the Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada.[20][21]

Personal life and death[edit]

Goodman died from a heart attack at St. John's Hospital and Medical Center in Santa Monica, California on August 16, 1996; he was eleven days shy of his 48th birthday.[2][3][4][5][6][8][10][11][16]

"There was some heart disease in the family. His father passed away from a heart attack, but he was really healthy and it was entirely unexpected," Dylan Goodman said. He was described as "a wonderful talent" by his cousin, Johnny Mandel.[3] He was also close friends with Frank Oz, who referred to Goodman as "Bud."[19]

"I had nothing but respect for his work," said fellow jazz producer Steve Backer, "He realized that jazz needed a smart contextualization to sell in big numbers, and he and his partner Oscar Castro-Neves had great ideas that revitalized several artists."[8]

Since his death, Antioch College, Goodman's alma mater, has implemented a scholarship fund in his name.[4][7]

List of work[edit]


Year Film Director Notes
1975 Wham! Bam! Thank You, Spaceman! William A. Levey with Dave White
1976 Rattlers John McCauley
Slumber Party '57 William A. Levey
1979 Skatetown, U.S.A. William A. Levey
1982 Lookin' to Get Out Hal Ashby with Johnny Mandel
Jinxed! Don Siegel with Bruce Roberts
1983 Table for Five Robert Lieberman with John Morris
The Man Who Wasn't There Bruce Malmuth
1985 Teen Wolf Rod Daniel
1986 About Last Night... Edward Zwick
Little Shop of Horrors Frank Oz
1987 The Squeeze Roger Young
La Bamba Luis Valdez with Carlos Santana
Real Men Dennis Feldman
Like Father Like Son Rod Daniel
1988 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Frank Oz
1989 K-9 Rod Daniel
Staying Together Lee Grant
The Delinquents Chris Thomson
1990 Opportunity Knocks Donald Petrie
Vital Signs Marisa Silver
Problem Child Dennis Dugan
Funny About Love Leonard Nimoy
1991 He Said, She Said Ken Kwapis
Marisa Silver
What About Bob? Frank Oz
The Super Rod Daniel
1992 Housesitter Frank Oz
The Muppet Christmas Carol Brian Henson
1993 Indian Summer Mike Binder
Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Bill Duke
1994 Getting Even with Dad Howard Deutch
Blankman Mike Binder
1995 For Better or Worse Jason Alexander
The Indian in the Cupboard Frank Oz rejected
1996 Dunston Checks In Ken Kwapis
Sunset Park Steve Gomer
Larger than Life Howard Franklin
1997 'Til There Was You Scott Winant

Television credits[edit]

Year Title Format
1977-1978 James at 16 6 episodes:
Fast and Loose
The Blowout
An Hour Before Midnight
Queen of the Silver Dollar
1978 Lou Grant Episode: Mob
1979 A Last Cry for Help Television movie
1981 Eight Is Enough 4 episodes:
The Way We Were
The Best Little Telethon in Sacramento
Yet Another Seven Days in February
1982 King's Crossing 3 episodes:
Long Ago Tomorrow
Confusion by Cupid
One Afternoon
Having It All Television movie
Cagney & Lacey 3 episodes:
Witness to an Incident
Mr. Lonelyhearts
Recreational Use
1983 The Face of Rage Television movie
High School U.S.A. Television movie
An Uncommon Love Television movie
1984 Things Are Looking Up Television movie
1985 A Reason to Live Television movie
Poison Ivy Television movie
Me and Mom Series
Space Miniseries
Children of the Night Television movie
1986 Passion Flower Television movie
Thompson's Last Run Television movie
Blind Justice Television movie
American Geisha Television movie
Amazing Stories Episode: The Eternal Mind
1988 Outback Bound Television movie
1989 Mick and Frankie Television movie
Travelling Man Television movie
Money, Power, Murder. Television movie
1990 Tales from the Crypt Episode: The Ventriloquist's Dummy
1992 For Richer, For Poorer Television movie
Indecency Television movie

Other credits[edit]

  • 1983 Gospel (Documentary)
  • 1987 Oh Happy Day (Video)


  1. ^ a b "In Loving Memory of Miles Goodman". Billboard. September 7, 1996. Retrieved March 19, 2016. page 19
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Miles Goodman, 47, Composer for Films". The New York Times. August 20, 1996. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jablon, Robert (August 18, 1996). "MILES GOODMAN, FILM COMPOSER AND JAZZ RECORD PRODUCER, DIES". Associated Press. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Oliver, Myrna (August 20, 1996). "Miles Goodman; Record Producer, Film Composer". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Miles Goodman: Composer". Sarasota Herald-Tribune. August 22, 1996. Retrieved February 20, 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Record producer, composer Miles Goodman dies at 47". The Daily Gazette. August 21, 1996. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Magro, Anthony (2002). Contemporary Cat: Terence Blanchard with Special Guests. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810843233.
  8. ^ a b c d Macnie, Jim (September 7, 1996). "Jazz: Blues Notes". Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  9. ^ Szpirglas, Jeff (February 21, 2012). "Looking back at Teen Wolf". Den of Geek. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Miles Goodman, Composer For Films". Sun-Sentinel. August 21, 1996. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c d e "Deaths". Billboard. September 7, 1996. Retrieved April 29, 2015.
  12. ^ "ETC". Billboard. November 16, 1996. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  13. ^ Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Variety, December 31, 1987
  14. ^ suatrilha (March 12, 2009). "Miles Goodman - Film Score". YouTube. Retrieved June 7, 2018.
  15. ^ Levenson, Jeff (December 10, 1994). "Sony Jazzes Up Sondheim Tunes for New Album". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  16. ^ a b "Miles Goodman, 47: Composer". The Ledger. August 20, 1996. Retrieved February 22, 2015.
  17. ^ Macnie, Jim (September 30, 1995). "Jazz:Blues Notes". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  18. ^ Horowitz, Is (March 5, 1994). "Sony Bows Three Innovative Classical Videos". Billboard. Retrieved May 1, 2015.
  19. ^ a b Plume, Kenneth (February 10, 2000). "INTERVIEW WITH FRANK OZ". IGN. Retrieved March 12, 2015.
  20. ^ LeBlanc, Larry (December 7, 1996). "SOCAN Awards Canada's Songwriters: Alan Frew, Shania Twain Among Top Winners". Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2015.
  21. ^ LebLanc, Larry (November 29, 1997). "Cummings Is Top SOCAN Scorer: Guess Who Front Man Honored For 5 Songs". Billboard. Retrieved April 30, 2015.

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