Angelo Badalamenti, the acclaimed composer who collaborated with David Lynch on a number of projects, including Blue Velvet, Twin Peaks, and Mulholland Drive, has died. Badalamenti died of natural causes surrounded by family at his home in Lincoln Park, New Jersey on Sunday, Dec. 11, his niece confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. Badalamenti's passing was also confirmed by his great-nephew, who wrote in an Instagram tribute, "My great-uncle Angelo Badalamenti has crossed the barrier to another plane of existence." Badalamenti was 85.
Born in Brooklyn in March 1937, Badalamenti played piano and French horn as a teenager in the Lafayette High School orchestra before attending the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. He went on to graduate from the Manhattan School of Music with his bachelor's and master's degrees in 1960. It was as he was serving as a music teacher during his fifth year at Dyker Heights Junior High that he composed a Christmas musical for his students that was telecast in 1964 by PBS station WNET, ultimately leading to Badalamenti being offered a job at a music publisher which saw him arrange and write songs for various artists. He also advertised for a lyricist in magazines and newspapers.
Badalamenti moved into the movie realm when he composed the score for the 1973 Harlem-set Gordon's War, going on to score the crime drama Law and Disorder in 1974. He eventually met Lynch, who would become his longtime collaborator and brought Lynch on as a vocal coach for actress Isabella Rossellini on Blue Velvet. When they couldn't secure the rights to the song "Blue Velvet," Badalamenti collaborated with Lynch to write "Mysteries of Love," vocals for which were provided by Julee Cruise. Following Blue Velvet, Badalamenti went on to collaborate with Lynch on Twin Peaks, for which he received a Grammy Award in 1990, Wild at Heart (1990), Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992), Lost Highway (1997), The Straight Story (1999), and Mulholland Drive (2001).
Badalamenti also worked on the scores of several other films, including Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Throughout his career, he also collaborated with Nina Simone, Nancy Wilson, Shirley Bassey, Patti Austin, David Bowie, Paul McCartney, Marianne Faithfull, Liza Minnelli, Mel Tillis and Roberta Flack to Pet Shop Boys, Anthrax, Dolores O'Riordan, Tim Booth, and LL Cool J. In 2008, the World Soundtrack Awards honored him, with Badalamenti being recognized with the Henry Mancini award by ASCAP in 2011.
Reacting to Badalamenti's passing, Lynch said during his daily weather report Monday, "No music today." Badalamenti is survived by his wife Lonny and daughter Danielle.