Alex North was born on December 4, 1910, to Russian Jewish immigrant parents, in Pennsylvania. He received musical scholarships to the Curtis Institute and Juilliard School; in 1923 he went to Russia to work as a telegrapher and studied composition at the Moscow Conservatory. North is renowned as a successful composer, who wrote more than 50 film scores, received 15 nominations for Academy Awards, and was the first composer to receive the Lifetime Achievement Oscar in 1986. He is also the composer of "Unchained Melody", which has been recored over 500 times by various artists. Films for which he has written scores include A Streetcar Named Desire, Cleopatra, The Misfits, Spartacus, Viva Zapata!, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Shoes of the Fisherman, and The Rainmaker. His score for A Streetcar Named Desire is especially notable, as it was the first time a film was scored completely in jazz. Also, North's score for 2001: A Space Odyssey was famously discarded by director Stanley Kubrick.
Alex North is featured in Edition: A Tribute to Women in Film