Isaac Schwartz, 86, the composer whose music adorned some of the most popular movies of the Soviet era, died Sunday at his home outside St. Petersburg, Russia, the St. Petersburg Composers Union said.

Mr. Schwartz started his career in the early 1950s, eventually earning fame for his romantic and melodic soundtracks to such beloved Soviet films as The White Sun of the Desert (1969) and The Captivating Star of Happiness (1975).

Helped by composer Dmitri Shostakovich early in his career, Mr. Schwartz went on to write the music for 110 movies and 35 theatrical performances.

He was born in 1923 in then-Soviet Ukraine. His family later moved to Leningrad, now called St. Petersburg, where his father was arrested on trumped-up charges by the Soviet secret police in 1936 and executed two years later.

Mr. Schwartz's family spent eight years in internal exile before being allowed to return home. - AP