Published Jan 29, 2014TV/Film composer John Cacavas, whose credits include scores for '70s disaster films Airport 1975 and Airport '77, passed away yesterday (January 28) at the age of 83. Though a specific cause of death has not been revealed, the composer had reportedly been battling a lengthy illness.
Born August 13, 1930, in Aberdeen, SD, Cacavas had studied music at Northwestern University before becoming an arranger for the U.S. Army Band. Prior to his film work, he also acted as an assistant conductor at CBS in New York, and as the director of publications for music publishers Chappell & Company.
Cacavas's first major film credit was the score to 1972's Horror Express, but also made a name for himself with the Airport movies, as well as with TV work for series like Kojak (for which he earned an Emmy nod in 1975), Hawaii Five-O, Matlock, The Equalizer and Columbo.
In addition to his composing work, Cacavas had written the instructional books Music Arranging and Orchestration and The Art of Writing Music: A Practical Book for Composers and Arrangers, and a novel titled A Song for Lynbidium, as well as delivered his memoirs, It's More Than Do-Re-Mi: My Life in Music, in 2003.
On stage, Cacavas had previously served as the principal conductor of the Beverly Hills Pops, and had acted as a guest conductor for the London Symphony Orchestra, the BBC Orchestra of London, the Atlanta Symphony and Radio City Music Hall Orchestra, among others.
He is survived by his wife Bonnie and their three children.