Hans Zimmer Poster


Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (6)  | Trivia (25)  | Personal Quotes (22)

Overview (3)

Born in Frankfurt am Main, Hesse, West Germany
Birth NameHans Florian Zimmer
Height 5' 10" (1.78 m)

Mini Bio (1)

German-born composer Hans Zimmer is recognized as one of Hollywood's most innovative musical talents. He featured in the music video for The Buggles' single "Video Killed the Radio Star", which became a worldwide hit and helped usher in a new era of global entertainment as the first music video to be aired on MTV (August 1, 1981).

Hans Florian Zimmer was born in Frankfurt am Main, then in West Germany, the son of Brigitte (Weil) and Hans Joachim Zimmer. He entered the world of film music in London during a long collaboration with famed composer and mentor Stanley Myers, which included the film My Beautiful Laundrette (1985). He soon began work on several successful solo projects, including the critically acclaimed A World Apart, and during these years Zimmer pioneered the use of combining old and new musical technologies. Today, this work has earned him the reputation of being the father of integrating the electronic musical world with traditional orchestral arrangements.

A turning point in Zimmer's career came in 1988 when he was asked to score Rain Man for director Barry Levinson. The film went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture of the Year and earned Zimmer his first Academy Award Nomination for Best Original Score. The next year, Zimmer composed the score for another Best Picture Oscar recipient, Driving Miss Daisy (1989), starring Jessica Tandy, and Morgan Freeman.

Having already scored two Best Picture winners, in the early 1990s, Zimmer cemented his position as a pre-eminent talent with the award-winning score for The Lion King (1994). The soundtrack has sold over 15 million copies to date and earned him an Academy Award for Best Original Score, a Golden Globe, an American Music Award, a Tony, and two Grammy Awards. In total, Zimmer's work has been nominated for 7 Golden Globes, 7 Grammys and seven Oscars for Rain Man (1988), Gladiator (2000), The Lion King (1994), As Good as It Gets (1997), The The Preacher's Wife (1996), The Thin Red Line (1998), The Prince of Egypt (1998), and The Last Samurai (2003).

With his career in full swing, Zimmer was anxious to replicate the mentoring experience he had benefited from under Stanley Myers' guidance. With state-of-the-art technology and a supportive creative environment, Zimmer was able to offer film-scoring opportunities to young composers at his Santa Monica-based musical "think tank." This approach helped launch the careers of such notable composers as Mark Mancina, John Powell, Harry Gregson-Williams, Nick Glennie-Smith, and Klaus Badelt.

In 2000, Zimmer scored the music for Gladiator (2000), for which he received an Oscar nomination, in addition to Golden Globe and Broadcast Film Critics Awards for his epic score. It sold more than three million copies worldwide and spawned a second album Gladiator: More Music From The Motion Picture, released on the Universal Classics/Decca label. Zimmer's other scores that year included Mission: Impossible II (2000), The Road to El Dorado (2000), and An Everlasting Piece (2000), directed by Barry Levinson.

Some of his other impressive scores include Pearl Harbor (2001), The Ring (2002), four films directed by Ridley Scott; Matchstick Men (2003), Hannibal (2001), Black Hawk Down (2001), and Thelma & Louise (1991), Penny Marshall's Riding in Cars with Boys (2001), and A League of Their Own (1992), Tony Scott's True Romance (1993), Tears of the Sun (2003), Ron Howard's Backdraft (1991), Days of Thunder (1990), Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997), and the animated Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron (2002) for which he also co-wrote four of the songs with Bryan Adams, including the Golden Globe nominated Here I Am.

At the 27th annual Flanders International Film Festival, Zimmer performed live for the first time in concert with a 100-piece orchestra and a 100-piece choir. Choosing selections from his impressive body of work, Zimmer performed newly orchestrated concert versions of Gladiator, Mission: Impossible II (2000), Rain Man (1988), The Lion King (1994), and The Thin Red Line (1998). The concert was recorded by Decca and released as a concert album entitled "The Wings Of A Film: The Music Of Hans Zimmer."

Last year, Zimmer completed his 100th film score for the film The Last Samurai, starring Tom Cruise, for which he received both a Golden Globe and a Broadcast Film Critics nomination. Zimmer then scored Nancy Meyers' comedy Something's Gotta Give (2003), the animated Dreamworks film, Shark Tale (2004) (featuring voices of Will Smith, Renée Zellweger, Robert De Niro, Jack Black, and Martin Scorsese), and Jim Brooks' Spanglish (2004) starring Adam Sandler and Téa Leoni (for which he also received a Golden Globe nomination). His 2005 projects include Paramount's The Weather Man (2005) starring Nicolas Cage, Dreamworks' Madagascar (2005), and the Warner Bros. summer release, Batman Begins (2005).

Zimmer's additional honors and awards include the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award in Film Composition from the National Board of Review, and the Frederick Loewe Award in 2003 at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. He has also received ASCAP's Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime Achievement. Hans and his wife live in Los Angeles and he is the father of four children.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Spouse (2)

Vicki Carolin (19 March 1982 - 7 April 1992) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Suzanne Zimmer (? - present) ( 3 children)

Trade Mark (6)

Uses elements from the characters' culture in the music, i.e. tribal chants in The Lion King (1994), guitar with vocals in Gladiator (2000) and ukulele in Pearl Harbor (2001)
Seamlessly mixes synthesizers with real instruments and soloists. Often uses solo cello and acoustic/electric guitar
Frequently works with DreamWorks Animation
Frequently works with directors Ridley Scott, Gore Verbinski, Ron Howard and Christopher Nolan
Famous for his frequent use of what is known as a "Bwaum" wherein a major plot point is revealed and the music blasts out a single note loudly
Frequent use of the 'Shepard Tone' to raise tension. This is an auditory illusion of which provides the sense of a note constantly rising in pitch.

Trivia (25)

Last name means 'room' in German.
Co-founder (with Jay Rifkin) of Santa Monica-based music studio Media Ventures (now Remote Control), which has housed composers Mark Mancina, Harry Gregson-Williams, Rupert Gregson-Williams, Nick Glennie-Smith, John Powell, Klaus Badelt, Steve Jablonsky, Geoff Zanelli, Jeff Rona, Jim Dooley, Henning Lohner, James S. Levine, Mel Wesson, and several other composers from all over the world.
Hans' longtime business partner, Jay Rifkin, filed a $10 million suit against him for conspiring to take business for himself. Because of this lawsuit, Media Ventures changed its name to Remote Control. [December 2003]
Gladiator (2000) became into one of the best selling film score albums of all time.
The Last Samurai (2003) marked his 100th score.
Inspired by Ennio Morricone's The Mission (1986).
His iconic theme "Journey to the Line" from The Thin Red Line (1998) is heavily used in trailers and various other media. This theme was born out of trial and error. Terrence Malick, the director of The Thin Red Line (1998) had been dissatisfied with Zimmer's results and had him continuously rework melodies and come up with various approaches. Thus "Journey to the Line" was finally born. Many of his latter scores would go on to bear an uncanny resemblance to this classic Thin Red Line theme.
He wrote music for a a 4-minute Maybach commercial.
His favorite movie theme of all time is from Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) by John Carpenter.
Fans and industry insiders in the film music world credit Crimson Tide (1995) as a turning point in both his career and the scoring business. The Grammy-winning score, often heard in trailers since, was a departure from the norm, making use of digital synthesizers, electronic keyboards, and the latest computer technology to digitally produce a rousing score with traditional orchestral arrangements.
The reason why he was chosen for the movie Laura's Star (2004), was because, in an interview, he said that he feels that German producers forgot him for composing to a German language movie. One of the producers read the interview and he immediately asked him to do the movie.
Completely self-taught, he learned everything he knows through collaboration and experimenting.
He pushes collaboration between composers because that is how he learned. Every composer that has come out of Media Ventures learned by working with him on various scores by conducting, writing additional music, or even co-composing with him. Harry Gregson-Williams, John Powell, Mark Mancina, Klaus Badelt and Steve Jablonsky are just a few composers who are now doing solo work after expanding from Media Ventures.
He told in an interview that he would retire for some years after The Dark Knight (2008), saying he has been exhausted in the past years. He also said that he wants to help young composers and would produce their scores. His future plan is also about touring the world holding concerts with his own music.
Was nominated for a Tony Award for Original Musical Score in 1998 alongside Elton John, Tim Rice, Lebo M., Mark Mancina, Jay Rifkin and Julie Taymor for their work on the musical version of The Lion King (1994).
Was nominated for Film Composer of the Year in 2006 by the International Film Music Critics Association (IFMCA).
Was included on the list of "Top 100 Living Geniuses" published by The Daily Telegraph (2007).
He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6908 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on December 8, 2010.
Hans Zimmer's score for The Thin Red Line (1998) would inform the direction he would take in style for the rest of his career. Many directors (especially Christopher Nolan) would employ him based on their love for The Thin Red Line (1998) and the desire for its similar ambiance. More specifically based on the track "Journey to the Line". Ironically, with the exception of "Journey to the Line", most of Zimmer's score did not make the final cut of The Thin Red Line (1998) What was used was often sampled with various other music chosen by Malick to create an intricate work that is often mistakenly credited to Zimmer.
As of 2018, he has contributed with the music score of 10 films that were nominated for the Best Picture Oscar: Rain Man (1988), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), As Good as It Gets (1997), The Thin Red Line (1998), Gladiator (2000), Frost/Nixon (2008), Inception (2010), 12 Years a Slave (2013), Hidden Figures (2016) and Dunkirk (2017). Of those, Rain Man (1988), Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Gladiator (2000), and 12 Years a Slave (2013) are winners in the category.
Son of Brigitte (Weil) and Hans Joachim Zimmer, who founded a textiles company, Zimmer AG Frankfurt am Main. His mother Brigitte left Germany in the 1930s as a Jewish refugee from the Nazis, living in England during the war.
He is the only composer to do scores for Batman films under two different directors.
He is the only composer to have done scores for films about Batman and Superman.
He has written and composed scores for all of DC Comics' trinity of heroes: Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
Has 5 children: one daughter, Zoe, with his ex-wife Vicki Carolin; sons Jake and Max, and daughters Brigitte and Anabelle, with his current wife Suzanne Zimmer.

Personal Quotes (22)

I have all these computers and keyboards and synthesizers, and I rattle away. For instance, with The Lion King (1994), I wrote over four hours' worth of tunes, and they were really pretty - but totally meaningless. So in the end I came up with material I liked. We worked on The Lion King for four years, but I wasn't toying until the last three-and-a-half weeks properly. On Crimson Tide (1995), on the other hand, I just went in and within seconds I knew what I wanted.
I wake up around noon, light a cigarette, get a cup of coffee, sit in the bathtub for an hour and daydream, and I usually come up with some ideas... It's a very irresponsible life. The only decisions I make are about the notes I'm writing.
I don't drive, so one of my assistants drives me to my writing room, and I have a calendar on the wall telling me how much time I have left, and how far behind I am. I look at it and panic, and decide which scene to work on. And you sit there plonking notes until something makes sense, and you don't think about it any more. Good tunes come when you're not thinking about it.
If something happened where I couldn't write music anymore, it would kill me. It's not just a job. It's not just a hobby. It's why I get up in the morning.
You have to remain flexible, and you must be your own critic at all times.
[on his score for Hannibal (2001)] This is the best love theme I've ever written, I keep telling everyone this is a romantic comedy, but nobody believes me.
[on his score for Batman Begins (2005)] I think this one has more electronics in it than anything else. I didn't want to do straight orchestra because Batman, he's not a straight character. I mean where do you get those wonderful toys from and the technology? So I thought I could embrace a bit more technology in this one... there isn't a straight orchestral note on this score.
[on his previous Batman scores] Nobody ever mentions the Elliot Goldenthal scores. And of course, I'm not mentioning any of that either, because quite honestly I didn't go and look at the old Batman movies again.
I am not saying it is a bad movie or good movie, but it is an odd movie. All of the music was written before Terry would edit a scene. That was just how he wanted to work. It was a very odd way of working for me, because I had to lead the charge up the hill all the time. It gets a little daunting.
[on his score for The Lion King (1994)] I'd never written for talking fuzzy animals before. I knew how to write to human emotions but these were animals. It took me a while to sort of get over that and do what you do which is just treat them like human characters.
[on his score for The Lion King (1994)] I thought how do we deal with in a children's movie the idea that a father dies and make an emotional yet not horrifying experience. And it's very simple. It's my point of view because my dad dropped dead when I was six. I had nobody to talk to about it.
If the secret should be known, which is not much of a secret at all, this is my hobby I love doing this. Anything else feels like work to me.
When you write a theme one of the things you want to do is you want to see how much life it really has. How many possibilities there are. Can it speak to you in joy? Can it speak to you in sorrow? Can it be love? Can it be hate? Can you say all these things with just a few notes? That's the thing when you figure out if a tune is any good or not. Does it have more than one shallow little character? Does it have just one little thing to tell you. Can it get underneath there under your skin? Can it get dark? Can it talk about the death of a father or something like that.
[on his score for The Lion King (1994)] The main emphasis to me was how we were going to get, in a children's movie, to the idea that a father dies and make it an emotional yet not horrifying experience but make it something that children might want to start asking some questions about. It's very simple. It's my point of view because my dad dropped dead when I was six and I had nobody to talk to about it. So, it's a very personal sort of thing.
You have to realize I like doing big movies that appear on a big screen. So the visuals and the audio have to be of a certain quality before I start to get excited about the thing.
The writing gets done away from the keyboard and away from the studio in my head, in solitude. And then I come in and hopefully have something, then I wrestle with sounds and picture all day long. But the ideas usually come from a more obscure place, like a conversation with a director, a still somebody shows you, or whatever.
When movies first came out, maybe they were in black and white and there wasn't any sound and people were saying the theater is still the place to be. But now movies and theater have found their own place in the world. They are each legitimate art forms.
With animated film, you have to create the sonic world; there's nothing there. You get to color things in more and you're allowed to overreach yourself a little bit more, and it's great fun.
Anything can become a musical sound. The wind on telegraph wires is a great sound; get it into your machine and play it and it becomes interesting.
You come from a conversation with the director, and you're all enthusiastic, because it's all new possibilities, opportunities, great ideas, etc. And then you get into this room, and you sit in front of this [computer], and it's all gone and you just go "oh my god, I have no idea what to do". But you need the courage of starting somewhere.
I write film music. I don't do brain surgery. I don't cure cancer. I just write a little bit of film music.
Nobody beats me up as much as I beat myself up. This is what I love doing and I have one life to do it in. And I better do it right. I better do it well.

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