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May 16, 2003
Randy Edelman and Merv Griffin Receive BMI's Career Awards
by Jon Burlingame

Composer Randy Edelman received BMI's Richard Kirk Award for career achievement at the performing rights organization's annual Film and TV Music Awards Wednesday night, May 14, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California.

Edelman's scores include Gettysburg, Dragonheart, Come See the Paradise, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Kindergarten Cop, Six Days, Seven Nights, Shanghai Noon, XXX and many others, about 60 in all. Among his television themes are MacGyver and The Adventures of Brisco County Jr.

A 1992 Golden Globe nominee and BAFTA nominee for his score to The Last of the Mohicans, he also has an Emmy Award for his musical contributions to the 1996 Summer Olympic telecasts on NBC. Many of Edelman's film themes have been adapted for use in televised sporting events on several networks.

"I never cared about anything except being a good musician," a choked-up Edelman told the black-tie crowd. Director Rob Cohen (XXX, Dragonheart) and producer Roger Birnbaum (Shanghai Noon) joined him on stage as part of the salute; producer Henry Winkler (MacGyver) and directors Ronald Maxwell (Gettysburg) and Jonathan Lynn (My Cousin Vinny) contributed videotaped congratulations.

On hand to receive the President's Award was former talk-show host and big-band singer Merv Griffin, who didn't miss an opportunity to plug his own hotel, the nearby Beverly Hilton, and the fact that rival performing-rights society ASCAP holds its events there.

Griffin was acknowledged for his music for Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune, two of TV's most popular and long-running game shows in syndication. Griffin himself penned the familiar "think music" for Jeopardy and the theme for Wheel.

Among the composers on hand to pick up multiple BMI awards were Danny Elfman (for The Simpsons, Spider-Man, Men in Black II and Chicago), Mike Post (the Law & Order series and NYPD Blue), W.G. Snuffy Walden (The West Wing, Providence), Graeme Revell (Daredevil, CSI Miami), Mark Mothersbaugh (The Mind of a Married Man, Rugrats), David Vanacore (the Survivor series, Joe Millionaire) and David Newman (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Scooby-Doo).

Receiving some of the loudest and longest applause of the evening were two legendary composers: Earle Hagen (The Andy Griffith Show, The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Spy), who is enjoying retirement and kudos for a new autobiography; and Lalo Schifrin (Mission: Impossible), who picked up an award for the music of his latest $100-million-plus grossing film, Bringing Down the House.

© 2003 Jon Burlingame

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