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Danny Elfman Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (6) | Trivia (32) | Personal Quotes (6) | Salary (1)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 29 May 1953Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameDaniel Robert Elfman
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

As Danny Elfman was growing up in the Los Angeles area, he was largely unaware of his talent for composing. It wasn't until the early 1970s that Danny and his older brother Richard Elfman started a musical troupe while in Paris; the group "Mystic Knights of Oingo-Boingo" was created for Richard's directorial debut, Forbidden Zone (1980) (now considered a cult classic by Elfman fans). The group's name went through many incarnations over the years, beginning with "The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo" and eventually just Oingo Boingo. While continuing to compose eclectic, intelligent rock music for his L.A.-based band (some of which had been used in various film soundtracks, e.g. Weird Science (1985)), Danny formed a friendship with young director Tim Burton, who was then a fan of Oingo Boingo. Danny went on to score the soundtrack of Pee-wee's Big Adventure (1985), Danny's first orchestral film score. The Elfman-Burton partnership continued (most notably through the hugely-successful "Batman" flicks) and opened doors of opportunity for Danny, who has been referred to as "Hollywood's hottest film composer".

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Dana Caro James <eville@nc5.infi.net>

Spouse (2)

Bridget Fonda (29 November 2003 - present) (1 child)
Geri Eisenmenger (? - ?) (divorced) (1 child)

Trade Mark (6)

Frequently combines orchestral sounds with digital sounds. Most noticeable in the opening sequence of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005).
Heavy use of brass and percussion in his film scores
Often works with Tim Burton and Sam Raimi
Brooding Gothic compositions
Use of Haunting Vocals
His cues for the climaxes of the films he scores are often titled "Final Confrontation".

Trivia (32)

Uncle of Bodhi Elfman
His older brother is director Richard Elfman.
His mother is Clare Elfman, an author of children's books.
Elfman fans discuss his current and past work in the usenet group rec.music.artists.danny-elfman.
The past, present and future of Elfman and the other members of Oingo Boingo are also discussed at alt.fan.oingo-boingo.
Wrote the score for Black Beauty (1994) for his two daughters from a collapsed marriage. Released a solo album in 1984, So-Lo, which happened to feature most of the band members from Oingo Boingo.
Signed a non-exclusive contract with Disney to write, produce, and direct films, while continuing to compose for Disney and other studios. [1997]
Engaged to Bridget Fonda (March 2003)
Claims Bernard Herrmann as a heavy influence on many of his scores.
Owns a dachshund.
He and Howard Shore have both formed hit bands (Oingo Boingo and The Blues Brothers), both scored films for Peter Jackson (The Frighteners (1996) and The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) and others), both scored films for Tim Burton (Elfman has scored everything but Ed Wood (1994), which Shore scored), and both scored a Hannibal Lecter film (Red Dragon (2002) and The Silence of the Lambs (1991)).
Composed comic book scores from Dick Tracy (1990), Darkman (1990), Batman (1989), Batman Returns (1992), Men in Black (1997), Men in Black II (2002), Spider-Man (2002), Spider-Man 2 (2004), and Hulk (2003).
Admires Peter Lorre.
Was in the theater band Mystic Knights Of The Oingo Boingo, which later morphed into Oingo Boingo.
Son Oliver Elfman was born mid January 2005
Son-in-law of Peter Fonda and Susan Brewer.
Brother-in-law of Justin Fonda.
It is sometimes believed that Elfman may have been born in Amarillo, Texas, but that is, apparently, due to a joke that he once made. He was actually born in Los Angeles County, California.
Father of daughters Lola Elfman (born in 1979) and Mali Elfman (born in 1984).
Did not return to provide the musical score for Spider-Man 3 (2007), citing creative differences with director Sam Raimi over the previous film. He instead, provided the score for Charlotte's Web (2006), which, as it happens, is about a spider who uses her talents to do good.
The only two Tim Burton films, Elfman did not compose the score for, are Ed Wood (1994) and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007).
Learned how to breathe fire as a street performer in Paris after he graduated from high school.
Sang all the vocals for the five songs in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005). He recorded singing it in different ways and played with the audio to make it sound like various high- and low-pitched vocals.
Received an honorary doctorate from the North Carolina School of the Arts (June 2007).
Daughter: Lola Elfman (born 1979).
Daughter: Mali Elfman (born 1984).
Was awarded Film Composer of the Year in 2008 by the International Film Music Critics Association.
His father is Milton Elfman, who made an uncredited appearance in the film, Forbidden Zone (1980).
His scores for Batman (1989) and Edward Scissorhands (1990) were nominated for AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores. But neither of them made the list.
Uncle of Jenna Elfman (by marriage).
He was so impressed by Heavenly Creatures (1994) that he offered to do the musical score for the next movie of whoever directed it. That director turned out to be Peter Jackson, and his next movie, The Frighteners (1996), was indeed scored by Elfman.
Member of the 'Official Competition' jury at the 67th Venice International Film Festival in 2010.

Personal Quotes (6)

I get drawn to things that don't make any sense, and I learned early on not to resist that.
I've known Sam [Raimi] for almost 15 years. Spider-Man 2 was my fifth movie with him and all I can say is that the person who was there at the end of Spider-Man 2 was not Sam. I don't know who it was, but it wasn't Sam. It was as close to living out Invasion of the Body Snatchers as I've ever experienced. To see such a profound negative change in a human being was almost enough to make me feel like I didn't want to make films anymore. It was really disheartening and sad to see the way it ended up.
It all depends on the directors. Working closely with a director is the main job of a film composer. Interpreting what he perceives as a color, an emotion or mood is very abstract. A director tells you something he wants and then you have to run back to your music and respond with, "I think he meant something like this."
I don't think there's a trademark Danny Elfman element that has been consistent in my work. I don't hear many similarities in what I do and I don't think it's necessary that I have a particular style. Having a particular style is not bad, but I prefer to push myself in the direction of being a composer who you never know what he's doing next.
The Oingo is still there. It just got lost off of our current album cover. Since then, however, it was found by my daughter in between the cushions of our couch. Although it's a bit sticky it will undoubtedly find its way back on our next album. The horn section I'm sorry to say succumbed to the terrible flesh-eating bacteria that I'm sure you read so much about. I wish I could say that they died quietly in their sleep, as opposed to screaming in agony as was the case. However who am I to question such things in the great cosmic scheme...
[on composing scores for Tim Burton films] People expect us to have some invisible shorthand. But it never gets any easier. Tim is just as complex now, maybe more so. Every time I play music for him I'm as nervous as I was that first occasion. Countless times, I've played something and watched him put his head in his hands and start pulling at his hair. I've never been unhappy with where we ended up, but most of the time we've had to spiral around quite a bit to get there. You have to be half-composer, half-psychiatrist.

Salary (1)

Spider-Man 2 (2004) $2,000,000

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