Martin Scorsese is honoring his frequent collaborator and friend Robbie Robertson after the musician’s death at 80.
“Robbie Robertson was one of my closest friends, a constant in my life and my work,” Scorsese, 80, said in a statement after news of Robertson’s death on Wednesday. “I could always go to him as a confidante. A collaborator. An advisor. I tried to be the same for him.”
“Long before we ever met, his music played a central role in my life—me and millions and millions of other people all over this world,” the filmmaker continued, referencing Robertson’s body of work with his group The Band. “The Band’s music, and Robbie’s own later solo music, seemed to come from the deepest place at the heart of this continent, its traditions and tragedies and joys.”
“It goes without saying that he was a giant, that his effect on the art form was profound and lasting,” Scorsese added. “There’s never enough time with anyone you love. And I loved Robbie.”
Robertson’s manager of 34 years Jared Levine confirmed the news of his death and noted that the musician and film composer “was surrounded by his family at the time of his death.”
Robbie Robertson, The Band’s Songwriter and Primary Guitarist, Dead at 80
George Pimentel/Getty Images
Robertson got his start playing with Bob Dylan on his legendary “Going Electric” tours in the mid-1960s before branching off to form The Band with Rick Danko, Richard Manuel and Garth Hudson. Though he initially achieved success as a singer, songwriter and lead guitarist for the group, Robertson’s collaborations with Scorsese date back to the band’s 1976 “The Last Waltz” concert in San Francisco, which the filmmaker later released as a concert film.
The musician began composing for films with Carny (1979), which he also co-wrote, produced and appeared in alongside Garey Busey and Jodie Foster. Robertson then went on to create and produce music for Scorse’s ’80s movies Raging Bull (1980) and The King of Comedy (1983), which led to a long-standing collaboration between the two men.
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Among other films Robertson scored, he worked with Scorsese to produce the soundtrack album for Casino (1995). He is also credited as having scored, consulted for, produced or supervised music for Gangs of New York (2002), The Departed (2006), Shutter Island (2009), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), Silence (2016), The Irishman and Scorsese’s upcoming film Killers of the Flower Moon.
Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro Star in First Trailer for Martin Scorsese’s ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’
Scorsese’s new movie centers around the real-life story of the serial killings of members of Osage Nation, who became wealthy because of oil discovered on their land in 1920s Oklahoma. The film is adapted from David Grann’s 2017 book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.
Robertson himself was of indigenous descent and had roots in the Mohawk community at the Six Nations Reserve outside of Toronto. “In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to the Six Nations of the Grand River to support the building of their new cultural center,” Levine, his manager, said in a statement Wednesday.
Killers of the Flower Moon premieres exclusively in select theaters Oct. 6 and goes wide Oct. 20 before streaming globally on Apple TV+.