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Film composer Shirley Walker dies at 61

Dec. 26, 2006 at 8:55 PM

RENO, Nev., Dec. 26 (UPI) -- Emmy-winning film orchestrator Shirley Walker has died at a medical facility in Reno, Nev., at age 61 after complications from a stroke.

The Los Angeles Times said Walker will be remembered as a pioneer for women in the film industry. She was the first woman to score major films.

Movies scored by Walker include Tim Burton's "Batman" (1989) and "Dick Tracy" (1990), as well as "The Adventures of Batman and Robin (1996), "Batman Beyond" (2001) and all three "Final Destination" films (2000-2006).

The Times said Walker was highly admired for breaking into the action film genre, carving a unique niche for women.

"She had a fierceness. She wasn't going to be typecast to do a delicate score. She was going to show she had the muscle and power of any other composer out there, and she did," said longtime agent Vasi Vangelos.

Walker started out composing for television's "Falcon Crest" (CBS, 1981-90) and contributed to "China Beach" (ABC, 1988-91). The last film she composed for was "Black Christmas" (2006).

Born in Napa in 1945, Walker is survived by two sons, a mother, two brothers and a sister.

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