A dedication ceremony for the John Williams Building at the Sony Pictures studio lot in Culver City, California, was held on Thursday, as the five-time Oscar winner was honored by friends and collaborators, including Steven Spielberg and J.J. Abrams.
“This is bigger than ‘thank you’ – there are no words that can capture it in the English language; our language stops there. This is beyond an honor,” Williams said.
Spielberg praised the 91-year-old, who has composed music for 29 of his films, including the iconic scores of “Jaws,” “Raiders of the Lost Ark” and “Jurassic Park.”
“What he’s done for me is something I haven’t been able to imagine,” Spielberg said. “This building is where all my stress dissipates… when I finally get to this stage of a production, and I know I’m in your hands. In the end I don’t recognize the movies as mine but as ours. Thank you Johnny, my movies would not be the same without you.”
Abrams, who worked with William on two “Star Wars” sequels said, “There is no more magical being than John Williams. Johnny is able to tap into another realm, a profound, universal, utterly human place. Like an emotional wizard, he galvanizes a world, a spirit. He doesn’t just define the tone and power of a film, but elevates it into the pantheon.”
Abrams added, “Every new score of his feels delightfully stunning, fresh, and yet, inevitable. He’s filled our lives with some of the greatest art ever produced by humankind. I am endlessly grateful for what he does and who he is.”
Williams has recorded more than 30 scores in the building that now bears his name, including Academy Award-winning themes for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Memoirs of a Geisha,” “The Adventures of TinTin,” and “The Patriot.”
“This month marks the 100th anniversary of Columbia Pictures. How fitting the timing that to the pantheon of names that grace the buildings on this historic lot – like Capra, Poitier, Lear, Thalberg – we add Williams, the greatest film composer of all time, to the very building where so much of the joy he created happened,” said Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures’ Motion Picture Group.
“It is with great pride that we dedicate this building to John Williams for having made such a profound impact on not just Hollywood, but on the lives of billions of people around the world who have been touched by the magic of his musical genius,” said Tony Vinciquerra, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures.
Williams said at the event that he first came to the studio in 1940 when he was 9 or 10 years old. “I thought, some day this will all be mine! It’s finally come to be –It’s only taken me 92 years to get here!” he quipped.
The celebrated composer turns 92 on Feb. 8.
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