French Soundtrack Legend Francis Lai Dies at 86

The Oscar-winning composer scored films such as 'Love Story' and 'A Man and a Woman'
French Soundtrack Legend Francis Lai Dies at 86
Ocar-winning soundtrack legend Francis Lai has died. The announcement was made by France's Culture Ministry today, confirming the French composer passed away on Wednesday (November 7). Lai was 86.

With dozens upon dozens of soundtrack works to his name, Lai stood as one of France's most esteemed film composers. Among his long list of notable scores are A Man and a Woman, Live for Life, House of Cards, Dog Day, Emmanuelle 2, Bilitis and La Leçon Particulière.

However, it was Lai's score to director Erich Segal's classic 1970 film Love Story that stands as the composer's best known work, with the soundtrack winning the Academy Award for Best Original Score. Its main song "Where Do I Begin?" soon became a mega-hit that's still widely recognized to this day thanks to vocal renditions by Andy Williams and Shirley Bassey.

Lai was born in Nice in 1932, starting his music career by playing the accordion and piano. In his 20s, Lai then moved to Paris where he became an accompanist for French legend Edith Piaf.

However, it's when the musician met French New Wave director Claude Lelouch that Lai effectively kickstarted his soundtrack career with the filmmaker's A Man and a Woman in 1966.

In the wake of the news, Lelouch addressed Lai's passing, telling RTL radio [via the Associated Press]: "He was the man of my life, an angel disguised as an accordionist. We made 35 films together and we had a love story that lasted 50 years."

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi led nationwide tributes to Lai, saying he hopes to name "an emblematic place of our city" after Lai.