LOS ANGELES (CelebrityAccess) Gary LeMel, 80, former chief of Warner Bros. Music and once dubbed the “Godfather of the Modern Soundtrack,” died July 6.
LeMel has been credited with being the force behind massive album hits like the soundtracks The Big Chill, The Bodyguard and Ghostbusters. He was also a three-year veteran of Jerry Weintraub’s Management III.
His career took flight at the artist-backed film company First Artists where he supervised the soundtrack for the 1976 remake of “A Star Is Born” featuring Barbra Streisand and Kris Kristofferson that sold more than 4 million copies and had the No. 1 Streisand single “Evergreen.” That launched a four-year career in the music business (LeMel actually had a short career as a recording musician but his 1964 debut album was eclipsed by the launch of a band called The Beatles).
He was more known for his time at Columbia Pictures where he not only oversaw the soundtracks for “The Big Chill” and “Ghostbusters” but for “St. Elmo’s Fire,” with the No. 1 hit “Man In Motion” that resurrected the performance of the actual movie.
He moved on to Warner Bros., where he helped build the greatest soundtrack in history, The Bodyguard, which included Whitney Houston’s iconic hit “I Will Always Love You.” The album sold more than 45 million copies worldwide.
He also oversaw soundtracks for films like “You’ve Got Mail,” “City of Angels” and the Harry Potter series and was awarded the Music Supervisors Legacy Award by the Guild of Music Supervisors in 2017.
LeMel suffered from Lewy body dementia, a degenerative brain disease, in his later years but actually applied it to performing with a group called the 5th Dementia, which was the subject of a recent documentary.
LeMel was recently honored in memoriam by the nonprofit MusicMendsMinds.