Michel Colombier (1939-2004), who has died of cancer aged 65, was one of the most prolific film composers in France and the US for four decades. He became known in Hollywood as "the Funky Frenchman", and his recordings from the early 1970s, especially Wings and Old Fool Back On Earth, have become cult albums. Colombier was born in Lyon, but grew up in the upper Alsace city of Mulhouse, where his father played in the local opera orchestra. As an infant, Colombier became fascinated by music, and was taught piano and violin by his father before entering the Paris Conservatoire. Like many French musicians of his generation, he was enthralled by American jazz, once it became available again after the second world war, and, from the age of 14 he began to improvise and play jazz-influenced pieces. He studied composition with Michel Magne, who was guided by the school of Schoenberg and Webern, but he considered that his pupil had "combined the flower of the soul with the modernism of our days for a better popularity".