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Danny Elfman


Danny Elfman

Danny Elfman

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

Birth and Beginning:

Daniel Richard Elfman was born on May 29th, 1953. His parents were Milton, a teacher, and Blossom, who wrote childrens' books and the TV movie I Think I'm Having a Baby, which starred Jennifer Jason Leigh and Helen Hunt.

Oingo Boingo:

In 1980, Elfman worked with his brother, director Richard Elfman, on the film Forbidden Zone. He formed a group known as The Mystic Knights of Oingo Boingo. They performed the score that Elfman wrote for Forbidden Zone. Oingo Boingo, as it became known, blossomed into a permanent group and drew a large cult following, subsequently breaking up in 1995.


In 1985 Danny Elfman met Tim Burton, who asked Elfman to score the music for Pee-wee's Big Adventure. This was Tim's first time directing and Elfman's first time composing for a big-budget film. Elfman called in his friend and fellow Oingo Boingo member, Steve Bartek, to orchestrate for him. Pee-wee was a success. Thus began the friendship between Danny Elfman and Tim Burton.

'The Nightmare Before Christmas':

Danny Elfman wrote the songs, composed the score, and sang the leading role as Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Besides Tim Burton, Elfman has worked with many other directors such as Brian DePalma, Emilo Estevez, Warren Beatty and the Hughes brothers. See a list of the best Danny Elfman soundtracks to movies.

Collaborating with Tim Burton:

Today, Elfman and Burton are still working together as a team. Elfman has scored the music for every movie Tim has directed, with the exception of Ed Wood. Danny Elfman was nominated for a Grammy in 1989 for his theme to Batman.

TV Themes:

Danny Elfman has composed themes and music for several television shows, including Desperate Housewives, Family Dog and The Simpsons.


Oscar nominations for MilkBig Fish, Good Will Hunting and Men in Black.

Emmy win for Desperate Housewives.

Emmy nomination for The Simpsons.

Golden Globe nominations for Alice in WonderlandBig Fish and The Nightmare Before Christmas.

Grammy win for Batman (1990).

Grammy nominations for Alice in WonderlandMilkCharlie and the Chocolate FactorySpider-Man, Planet of the Apes, Men in Black, Edward Scissorhands and Dick Tracy.


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