Star Wars composer reveals theme tune mix-up as he receives lifetime award

The creator of the iconic music from Superman, Star Wars and Jaws has been honored by the Hollywood elite. John Williams became the first composer to receive American Film Institute’s life achievement award after scoring 100 movies and receiving 50 Oscar nominations. And his longtime collaborators Steven Spielberg and George Lucas were among the luminaries celebrating his career at a black-tie dinner gala on Thursday night. Other stars toasting the composer-conductor included Drew Barrymore, Harrison Ford, Will Ferrell, Tom Hanks, JJ Abrams and Kobe Bryant.

You take our movies, many of them about our most impossible dreams and, through your musical genius, you make them real and everlasting for billions and billions of people

Steven Spielberg toasts the composer

Williams, now 84, has won five Oscars, while his score for 1977’s Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope was named the most memorable film score of all time by the AFI. However, as he received his award he confessed he had got the wrong end of the stick as he was composing the tune. “For the first film I wrote a quite heated love theme, with a melody… and a torrid climax, thinking that Luke and Leia were lovers,” Williams said at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. “I found out two years later that they were brother and sister.”

Certainly Beethoven would have shunned [Hollywood], but Wagner would have had his own studio out there in Burbank with a water tower with a big W on it

John Williams