Ralph Ferraro dies at 82
Was composer, orchestrator for films, TV
By Jon Burlingame
Ralph Ferraro, a composer and orchestrator whose credits include episodes of "The Virginian" and the cult movie spoof "Flesh Gordon," died of respiratory failure April 3 at UCLA Medical Center. He was 82.
Ferraro was best known as an orchestrator for composers including Leonard Rosenman (on films including "A Man Called Horse," "Bound for Glory" and the animated "Lord of the Rings"), Randy Edelman (on films including "Gettysburg," "DragonHeart" and "XXX"), Quincy Jones ("The Wiz") and Bill Conti ("Masters of the Universe").
But he was also a composer who was active in television, especially in the 1960s, scoring episodes of "The Virginian," "It Takes a Thief," "The Name of the Game" and "The Men From Shiloh." He scored several pilots including "Riding for the Pony Express" in 1980.
In addition to composing the music for the 1974 sendup "Flesh Gordon," Ferraro scored several 1960s and '70s films including "The King's Pirate," "She Beast" and "Antonio."
He was born in Waterbury, Conn., and earned a master's degree in music from the Manhattan School of Music. After serving in the Navy, he relocated to Rome, Italy, where he worked as a jazz drummer, including considerable work for Italian cinema and television.
Ferraro played percussion on numerous classic scores for Nino Rota (including "La Dolce Vita," "8 1/2" and "Juliet of the Spirits"), Ennio Morricone ("The Battle of Algiers"), Riz Ortolani ("Mondo Cane") and Armando Trovaioli ("Two Women").
He began arranging for Rosenman in Rome in 1962 and continued to do so when he returned to the U.S. in 1967. He also arranged for singers including Andy Williams, Rod McKuen and Donny Osmond.
For Walt Disney's Epcot Center in 1982, he orchestrated the ride "Imagination" based on songs by Disney songwriters Richard and Robert Sherman.
Survivors include his wife and two daughters.
FERRARO, Ralph (Ralph Albert Ferraro)
Born: 7/3/1929, Waterbury, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Died: 4/3/2012, Westwood, California, U.S.A.
Ralph Ferraro’s westerns – arranger, orchestrator, composer:
Minnesota Clay – 1964 [arranger]
Backtrack! 1969 [composer]
A Man Called Horse – 1970 [orchestrator]
The Virginian (TV) – 1967, 1968, 1970 [composer]
The Soul of Nigger Charley – 1973 [orchestrator, composer]
Riding for the Pony Express (TV) – 1980 [composer]
Shanghai Noon – 2000 [orchestrator]
Shanghai Knights – 2003 [orchestrator]