Danny Elfman
Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman at ComicCon 2010 promoting The Danny Elfman & Tim Burton 25th Anniversary Music Box.
Background information
Birth name Daniel Robert Elfman
Born May 29, 1953 (1953-05-29) (age 58)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Genres New Wave, alternative rock, film music
Occupations composer, singer, record producer, actor, voice actor
Years active 1972–present
Associated acts Oingo Boingo, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo Madisen Burton's Basement

Daniel Robert "Danny" Elfman (born May 29, 1953) is an American composer, best known for scoring music for television and film. Up until 1995, he was the lead singer and songwriter in the rock band Oingo Boingo, a group he formed in 1976. He is noted for his frequent collaborations with long-time friend Tim Burton and has scored the majority of his films.

Born in Los Angeles, California, he entered the film industry in 1976, initially as an actor. He made his film scoring début in in 1980 for the film Forbidden Zone directed by his older brother Richard Elfman. He has since been nominated for four Academy Awards and won a Grammy Award for Tim Burton's Batman and an Emmy Award[1] for his Desperate Housewives theme. Elfman was honored with the prestigious Richard Kirk award at the 2002 BMI Film and TV Awards. The award is given annually to a composer who has made significant contributions to film and television music.[2]

Elfman is famous for creating The Simpsons main title theme as well as the Batman theme, and his role as Jack Skellington's singing voice in The Nightmare Before Christmas. He also sang for the character Bonejangles in the movie Corpse Bride.

Contents

Early life and career

Elfman, who is Jewish, was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of Blossom Elfman (née Bernstein), a writer and teacher, and Milton Elfman, a teacher who was in the Air Force.[3][4] Elfman grew up in a racially mixed community in the Baldwin Hills area of Los Angeles.[5] He spent much of his time in the local movie theatre, adoring the music of such film composers as Bernard Herrmann and Franz Waxman.

Stating that he hung out with the "band nerds" in high school, he started a ska band. After dropping out of high school, he followed his brother Richard to France,[6] where he performed with Le Grand Magic Circus, an avant-garde musical theater group. Violin in tow, Elfman next journeyed to Africa where he traveled through Ghana, Mali, and Upper Volta, absorbing new musical styles, including the Ghanaian highlife genre which would eventually influence his own music.[citation needed] Elfman contracted malaria during his one-year stay and was often sick. Eventually he returned home to the United States, where he began to take Balinese music lessons at the CalArts. During this time, he was romantically involved with Kim Gordon, who would later go on to form Sonic Youth. He was never officially a student at the institute, nonetheless, the instructor encouraged him to continue learning. Elfman stated, "He just laughed, and said, 'Sit. Play.' I continued to sit and play for a couple years."[7] At this time, his brother was forming a new musical theater group, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo. The group performed the music for Richard's debut feature film, Forbidden Zone. Danny Elfman composed his first score for the film and played the role of Satan. By the time the movie was completed, they had taken the name Oingo Boingo and begun recording and touring as a rock group.

Elfman and Tim Burton

In 1985, Tim Burton and Paul Reubens invited Elfman to write the score for their first feature film, Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Elfman was apprehensive at first because of his lack of formal training, but with orchestration assistance from Oingo Boingo guitarist and arranger Steve Bartek, he achieved his goal of emulating the mood of such composers as Nino Rota and Bernard Herrmann.[8] In the booklet for the first volume of Music for a Darkened Theatre, Elfman described the first time he heard his music played by a full orchestra as one of the most thrilling experiences of his life.[citation needed] Elfman immediately developed a rapport with Burton[8] and has gone on to score all but two of Burton's major studio releases: Ed Wood, scored by Howard Shore, which was under production while Elfman and Burton were having a fight,[9] and Sweeney Todd, an adaptation of the 1979 Stephen Sondheim Broadway musical. He also, more recently, accompanied Tim Burton in the composition of music for "Almost Alice", the soundtrack for Alice in Wonderland.

Burton has said of his relationship with Elfman: "We don't even have to talk about the music. We don't even have to intellectualize – which is good for both of us, we're both similar that way. We're very lucky to connect" (Breskin, 1997).

Musical influences

He recalls that the first time he became aware of film music was in his youth during a screening of The Day the Earth Stood Still (Robert Wise, 1951). The music was by Bernard Herrmann, and that, he has said, was where his love of film music began (Russell and Young, 2000). Elfman purposefully nodded towards Herrmann's The Day the Earth Stood Still score in Tim Burton's science fiction spoof Mars Attacks!

Other film composers have also proven to be influential, such as Nino Rota and Erich Wolfgang Korngold, the former in Elfman's playful music for Pee-wee's Big Adventure, the latter in his much grander work, Batman. Sometimes his music has a distinctly Russian feel, inspired by the likes of Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky’s ballet music. Jazz and rock influences from his earlier career are evident in such films as Chicago and To Die For. Elfman also cited Philip Glass as a major influence in his score for Alice in Wonderland, mainly known for "Alice's Theme".[citation needed]

Hearing damage

When asked during a 2007 phone-in interview on XETRA-FM if he ever had any notions of performing in an Oingo Boingo reunion, Elfman immediately rejected the idea and stated that in the last few years with the band he had begun to develop significant and irreversible hearing damage as a result of his continuous exposure to the high noise levels involved in performing in a rock band. He went on to say that he believes his hearing damage is partially due to a genetic predisposition to hearing loss, and that he will never return to the stage for fear of worsening not only his condition but also that of his band mates.

Recent works

Elfman has recently started working in the classical world, beginning with Serenada Schizophrana for the American Composers Orchestra. It was conducted by John Mauceri on its recording and by Steven Sloane at its premiere at Carnegie Hall in New York City on February 23, 2005. After its premiere, it was recorded in studio and released onto SACD on October 3, 2006. The meeting with Mauceri proved fruitful as the composer was encouraged then to write a new concert piece for Mauceri and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Elfman composed an "overture to a nonexistent musical" and called the piece "The Overeager Overture." He also continues to compose his film scores in addition to these other projects.

In November 2010, it was reported that Danny Elfman is writing the music for a planned musical based on the life of Houdini.[10]

Personal life

Elfman has three children: Lola, born in 1979; Mali, born in 1984; and Oliver, born in 2005. On November 29, 2003, Elfman married film actress Bridget Fonda. In 1997 he scored A Simple Plan - his only score for one of her films to date (although he did compose a cue for the film Army of Darkness, in which Fonda has a cameo). He is the uncle of actor Bodhi Elfman who is married to actress Jenna Elfman, known most notably in her role as Dharma in the TV series Dharma and Greg.

Filmography

Appearances by Elfman as an actor, or as a member of Oingo Boingo:

Year Film Role Notes
1977 I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Yri drummer Also featured Richard Elfman
1980 Forbidden Zone Satan Directed by Richard Elfman
1981 Urgh! A Music War Himself Part of Oingo Boingo
1984 Good Morning, Mr. Orwell Himself Part of Oingo Boingo
1986 Back to School Himself Part of Oingo Boingo
1993 Nightmare Before Christmas, TheThe Nightmare Before Christmas Jack Skellington (singing), Barrel, The Clown with the Tear-Away Face Voice only
2000 Gift, TheThe Gift Tommy Lee Ballard Directed by Sam Raimi, cameo
2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Oompa-Loompas (singing), Puppets Voice only
2005 Corpse Bride Bonejangles Voice only
2006 Finding Kraftland Himself Documentary directed by Elfman's agent, Richard Kraft
2011 Looney Tunes Show, TheThe Looney Tunes Show Owl Jolson (singing) Voice only on TV

This is a list of films with scores composed by Elfman:

Year Film Director Film Score/Soundtrack
1980 Forbidden Zone Richard Elfman Soundtrack (soundtrack with The Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo)
1985 Pee-wee's Big Adventure Tim Burton Soundtrack (film score, rerecording paired with Back to School)
1986 Back to School Alan Metter Soundtrack (film score, rerecording paired with Pee-wee's Big Adventure)
1987 Summer School Carl Reiner Soundtrack (includes one Elfman song; no score)
1987 Wisdom Emilio Estevez, Robert Wise Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
1988 Beetlejuice Tim Burton Soundtrack
1988 Midnight Run Martin Brest Soundtrack released by MCA
1988 Big Top Pee-wee Randal Kleiser Soundtrack (including dialogue) released by Arista, reissued by PEG
1988 Hot to Trot Michael Dinner Suite included on Music for a Darkened Theatre, Vol. 1
1988 Scrooged Richard Donner Suite included on Music for a Darkened Theatre, Vol. 1
1989 Batman Tim Burton Soundtrack (re-released with complete score from La-La Land Records); Nominated for 32nd Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
1990 Nightbreed Clive Barker Soundtrack released by MCA
1990 Dick Tracy Warren Beatty Soundtrack; Nominated for 33rd Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television
1990 Darkman Sam Raimi Soundtrack
1990 Edward Scissorhands Tim Burton Soundtrack; Nominated for 34th Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television
1992 Article 99 Howard Deutch Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
1992 Batman Returns Tim Burton Soundtrack released by Warner Bros. Records; re-released with complete score from La-La Land Records
1993 Sommersby Jon Amiel Soundtrack released by Elektra
1993 Army of Darkness Sam Raimi "March of the Dead" theme by Danny Elfman, rest of the score by Joseph LoDuca
1993 Nightmare Before Christmas, TheThe Nightmare Before Christmas Henry Selick Soundtrack; Written, composed and produced by Danny Elfman; released by Walt Disney Records
1994 Black Beauty Caroline Thompson Soundtrack
1995 Dolores Claiborne Taylor Hackford Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
1995 Dead Presidents Albert Hughes, Allen Hughes Soundtrack (one Elfman track; suite also included on Music for a Darkened Theatre Vol. 2)
1995 To Die For Gus Van Sant Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande (score + songs)
1996 Mission: Impossible Brian De Palma Soundtrack (songs + three brief Elfman suites); Score album
1996 Frighteners, TheThe Frighteners Peter Jackson Soundtrack
1996 Freeway Matthew Bright Suite included on Music for a Darkened Theatre Vol. 2
1996 Extreme Measures Michael Apted Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
1996 Mars Attacks! Tim Burton Soundtrack released by Atlantic; expanded edition released by La-La Land Records
1997 Men in Black Barry Sonnenfeld Soundtrack (two Elfman cues); Score album; Nominated for 70th Academy Award for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score & for 40th Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition Written for a Motion Picture or for Television
1997 Flubber Les Mayfield Soundtrack released by Walt Disney Records
1997 Bad Day on the Block Craig R. Baxley Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
1997 Good Will Hunting Gus Van Sant Soundtrack (two Elfman cues); Nominated for 70th Academy Award for Best Original Dramatic Score
1998 Simple Plan, AA Simple Plan Sam Raimi Soundtrack released by Compass III
1998 Civil Action, AA Civil Action Steven Zaillian Soundtrack
1999 Instinct Jon Turteltaub Soundtrack
1999 Anywhere But Here Wayne Wang Soundtrack released by Atlantic (includes one score suite)
1999 Sleepy Hollow Tim Burton Soundtrack released by Hollywood Records
2000 Proof of Life Taylor Hackford Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2000 Family Man, TheThe Family Man Brett Ratner Soundtrack released by Sire Records (two Elfman cues)
2001 Planet of the Apes Tim Burton Soundtrack released by SME
2002 Spider-Man Sam Raimi Score album; Song album; Nominated for 45th Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
2002 Men in Black II Barry Sonnenfeld Soundtrack released by Columbia Records
2002 Red Dragon Brett Ratner Soundtrack released by Decca Records
2002 Chicago Rob Marshall Soundtrack (two Elfman tracks)
2003 Hulk Ang Lee Soundtrack released by Columbia Records
2003 Big Fish Tim Burton Soundtrack; Nominated for 76th Academy Award for Best Original Score, for 61st Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score & for 47th Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
2004 Spider-Man 2 Sam Raimi Soundtrack; Score album
2005 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Tim Burton Soundtrack; Nominated for 48th Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media (Wonka's Welcome Song)
2005 Corpse Bride Tim Burton Soundtrack
2006 Deep Sea 3D Howard Hall Serenada Schizophrana
2006 Nacho Libre Jared Hess Soundtrack (score suite)
2006 Charlotte's Web Gary Winick Soundtrack
2007 Meet the Robinsons Stephen Anderson Soundtrack
2007 Kingdom, TheThe Kingdom Peter Berg Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2008 Standard Operating Procedure Errol Morris Soundtrack
2008 Wanted Timur Bekmambetov Soundtrack
2008 Hellboy II: The Golden Army Guillermo del Toro Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2008 Milk Gus Van Sant Soundtrack released by Decca Records; Nominated for 81st Academy Award for Best Original Score & for 52nd Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
2009 Notorious George Tillman, Jr. Soundtrack (one Elfman track)
2009 Terminator Salvation McG Soundtrack released by Warner Bros. Records
2009 Taking Woodstock Ang Lee Song soundtrack on Rhino Records with four Elfman cues; score album on La-La Land Records
2009 9 Shane Acker Soundtrack with Deborah Lurie and produced by Tim Burton
2010 Wolfman, TheThe Wolfman Joe Johnston Soundtrack released by Varèse Sarabande
2010 Alice in Wonderland Tim Burton Soundtrack released by Walt Disney Records; Nominated for 68th Golden Globe Award for Best Original Score & for 53rd Grammy Award for Best Score Soundtrack Album for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media
2010 Next Three Days, TheThe Next Three Days Paul Haggis Soundtrack released by Lionsgate
2011 Restless Gus Van Sant Soundtrack
2011 Real Steel Shawn Levy Soundtrack
2012 Hunger Games, TheThe Hunger Games Gary Ross Soundtrack
2012 Dark Shadows Tim Burton Soundtrack
2012 Men In Black III Barry Sonnenfeld Soundtrack
2012 Frankenweenie Tim Burton Soundtrack
2013 Oz, The Great and Powerful Sam Raimi Soundtrack

In addition, he has supplied thematic material - except where noted - for movies scored by others (names in brackets):

Elfman also composed the music for the Hollywood Pictures logo (an excerpt from his main title for Sommersby was subsequently used as the logo music for Regency, the company that made it).

He has also written the theme music and occasional episodic scores for several television series, including:

His other work includes:

  • 2004: The opening title theme of the 2004 video game Fable.
  • 2008: Soundtrack to the 2008 video game Lego Batman: The Videogame (various tracks from the soundtrack of the movie: Batman).
  • 2008: The opening title theme as well as major themes of the 2008 video game Fable II.
  • 2009: The opening title theme as well as major themes and soundtrack of the 2009 video game Wanted: Weapons of Fate.
  • 2010: The opening title theme as well as major themes of the 2010 video game Fable III.
  • 2013: Music for the upcoming Hong Kong Disneyland attraction Mystic Manor.

Awards and nominations

Award Wins Nominations
Academy Awards 0 4
Annie Awards 0 1
BMI Film & Television Awards 24 24
British Academy Film Awards 0 1
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards 0 2
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards 0 4
Emmy Awards 1 2
Golden Globe Awards 0 3
Grammy Awards 1 13
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards 0 1
Satellite Awards 1 6
Saturn Awards 5 12
Sierra Awards 1 2
World Soundtrack Awards 0 4
Total 33 79

American Film Institute

Elfman's scores for Batman and Edward Scissorhands were nominated for AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores:

References

External links



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  • Danny Elfman — (Los Ángeles, California, EEUU, 29 de mayo de 1953), compositor estadounidense. Se ha convertido en uno de los más admirados músicos de los últimos años gracias a la frescura, originalidad, ironía y sorprendente uso de la música para la pantalla …   Enciclopedia Universal

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  • Elfman — The surname Elfman may refer to: *Daniel Danny Elfman, composer *Bodhi Elfman, actor *Richard Elfman, actor, director *Jenna Elfman, actress *Eric Elfman, writer …   Wikipedia

  • ELFMAN, DANNY — (1953– ), U.S. composer musician. Born in Amarillo, Texas, to teacher Milton and teacher/writer Blossom (née Bernstein) Elfman and raised in Los Angeles, Elfman played violin in public high school and later played the conga drums and violin with… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

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