Daniel Robert Elfman (born May 29, 1953) is an American composer,
singer, songwriter, and record producer. Elfman first became known for
being the lead singer and songwriter for the band
Oingo Boingo from
1974 to 1995 . He is well known for scoring films and television
shows, in particular his frequent collaborations with director Tim
In 1976, Elfman entered the film industry as an actor. In 1980, he
scored his first film, Forbidden Zone, directed by his older brother
Richard Elfman. Among his honors are four Oscar nominations, a Grammy
for Batman, an Emmy for Desperate Housewives,, six Saturn Awards
for Best Music, the 2002 Richard Kirk Award, and the Disney Legend
1 Early life and career
2.1 Oingo Boingo
2.2 Film and television scoring
2.3 Other projects
3 Musical influences
4 Personal life
5 Awards and nominations
5.1 American Film Institute
7 See also
9 External links
Early life and career
Danny Elfman was born on May 29, 1953 in Los Angeles, California,
Jewish family of Polish and Russian ancestry. He is the
Blossom Elfman (née Bernstein), a writer and teacher, and
Milton Elfman, a teacher who was in the Air Force. He was raised
in a racially mixed affluent community in Baldwin Hills,
California. He spent much of his time in the neighborhood's local
movie theater, adoring the music of such film composers as Bernard
Herrmann and Franz Waxman. Stating that he hung out with the "band
geeks" in high school, he started a ska band. After dropping out of
high school, he followed his brother Richard to France, where he
performed with Le Grand Magic Circus, an avant-garde musical theater
He was never officially a student at the CalArts; nonetheless, an
instructor there encouraged him to continue learning. Elfman stated,
"He just laughed, and said, 'Sit. Play.' I continued to sit and play
for a couple years." At this time, his brother Richard was forming
a new musical theater group.
Main article: Oingo Boingo
Richard Elfman founded the American new wave band/performance
art group, originally called The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.
They played several shows throughout the 1970s until Richard Elfman
left the band to become a filmmaker. As a send-off to the band's
Richard Elfman created the film
Forbidden Zone based
on their stage performances.
Danny Elfman composed his first score for
the film and played the role of
Satan (the other band members played
his minions). By the time the movie was completed, they had taken the
Oingo Boingo and begun recording and touring as a rock group.
From 1976 and on, it was led by Danny Elfman, until 1995 when they
suddenly retired. The semi-theatrical music and comedy troupe had
transformed into a ska-influenced new wave band in 1979, and then
changed again towards a more guitar-oriented rock sound, in the late
1980s.. Oingo Boingo, still led by Danny Elfman,
performed as themselves in the 1986 movie Back to School.
Danny Elfman and
Oingo Boingo guitarist Steve Bartek
reunited on October 31, 2015 to perform the song "Dead Man's Party"
– "for the first time in 20 years to the day", as Elfman said to the
audience – during an encore at a Halloween celebration at the
Film and television scoring
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
Nino Rota and Bernard Herrmann. 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. Elfman immediately developed a
rapport with Burton and has gone on to score all but three of
Burton's major studio releases: Ed Wood, which was under production
while Elfman and Burton were having a serious disagreement,
Sweeney Todd, and most recently Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar
Children. Elfman also provided the singing voice for Jack Skellington
in Tim Burton's
The Nightmare Before Christmas
The Nightmare Before Christmas and the voices of both
Barrel and the "Clown with the Tear-Away Face". In 1990, Elfman
composed the iconic orchestra piece, 'Ice Dance', for the Tim Burton
film Edward Scissorhands. Years later he provided the voice for
Bonejangles the skeleton in
Corpse Bride and the voices of the
Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
One of Elfman's notable compositions is The Simpsons Theme, which he
wrote in 1989.
In 2002 Elfman composed the opening theme for the Sam Raimi Spider-Man
series. This as well as altered versions made its way to all three
Spider-Man movies. In 2004 Elfman composed
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
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 non-existent musical" and
called the piece "The Overeager Overture". He also continues to
compose his film scores in addition to these other projects.
In October 2013, Elfman returned to the stage to sing his vocal parts
to a handful of Nightmare Before Christmas songs as part of a concert
titled Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton. He
composed the film score for
Oz the Great and Powerful
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013), and
composed additional music for Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) together
with Brian Tyler.
Elfman composed the score for all three of the Fifty Shades films
Elfman's film scores were featured in the 2017 production SCORE: A
Film Music Documentary. Also that year, he took over the place of
composer in the DCEU's Justice League.
In November 2010, it was reported that
Danny Elfman was writing the
music for a planned musical based on the life of Harry Houdini,
but, as of January 2012, he was no longer attached to the project.
In 2011 Elfman composed the music for the
Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil show Iris,
which was performed at the
Dolby Theatre in Hollywood from July 21,
2011 to January 19, 2013.
In October 2016, Elfman composed a horror score for when Donald Trump
Hillary Clinton at the second United States
presidential election debates, 2016.
The style of Elfman's music has been influenced by modern composers
including Béla Bartók, Philip Glass, Lou Harrison, Carl Orff, Harry
Partch, Sergei Prokofiev, Maurice Ravel, Erik Satie, Igor Stravinsky,
as well as Romantic composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Elfman has
said that the first time he noticed film music was when he heard
Bernard Herrmann's score to
The Day the Earth Stood Still
The Day the Earth Stood Still as an
eleven-year-old; afterwards he became a fan of film music. Elfman's
influences in film music include the work of Erich Wolfgang Korngold,
Max Steiner, David Tamkin, Franz Waxman, and Nino Rota, who
served as a significant influence and the main inspiration for
Elfman's score for Pee-wee's Big Adventure. Elfman's work in pop
music was influenced by The Specials, Madness, the Selecter, and
As a teenager, Elfman dated his classmate Kim Gordon, who would later
become one of the members of the rock band Sonic Youth.
On November 29, 2003, Elfman married actress Bridget Fonda. They
have a son, Oliver. In 1998, Elfman scored A Simple Plan, starring
He is the uncle of actor Bodhi Elfman, who is married to actress Jenna
Elfman has been an atheist since the age of 11 or 12. According to
him, he is a cynicologist.
Describing his politics during the 1980s, Elfman said, "I'm not a
doomist. My attitude is always to be critical of what's around you,
but not ever to forget how lucky we are. I've traveled around the
world. I left thinking I was a revolutionary. I came back real
right-wing patriotic. Since then, I've kind of mellowed in
between." In 2008, he expressed support for
Barack Obama and said
Sarah Palin was his "worst nightmare".
During the 18 years with Oingo Boingo, Elfman developed significant
hearing damage as a result of the continuous exposure to the high
noise levels involved in performing in a rock band. Afraid of
worsening his condition, he decided to leave the band, saying that he
would never return to that kind of performance. His impairment was so
bad that he could not "even sit in a loud restaurant or bar anymore."
However, he found performing in front of orchestras more tolerable,
and returned several times to reprise his live performance of Jack
Awards and nominations
Main article: List of awards and nominations received by Danny Elfman
Danny Elfman awards and nominations
BMI Film & Television Awards
British Academy Film Awards
Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards
Chicago Film Critics Association Awards
Golden Globe Awards
Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards
American Film Institute
Elfman's scores for Batman and
Edward Scissorhands were nominated for
AFI's 100 Years of Film Scores.
Danny Elfman discography
^ "Oingo Boingo". AllMusic. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
^ Denman-Underhill, Lori (October 22, 2015). "Overcoming Stage Fright,
Danny Elfman Brings Nightmare to the Bowl". LA Weekly. Retrieved
December 26, 2016.
^ Braheny, John (1990). "Interview: Danny Elfman". Blunt Instrument.
Retrieved February 2, 2013.
^ "Batman (1989) Awards, IMDB.com". Retrieved September 27,
Danny Elfman Scores First Emmy Award". Broadcast Music,
Inc. September 21, 2005. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
^ "Top Film, TV, Cable Composers Honored at BMI's Annual Film/TV
Awards". Broadcast Music, Inc. May 14, 2002. Retrieved October 28,
^ Lincoln, Ross (July 14, 2015). "George Lucas, Danny Elfman, Others
To Be Honored At D23 2015". Deadline. Retrieved August 4, 2015.
^ "Daniel Robert Elfman - California, Birth Index". FamilySearch.
Retrieved December 24, 2014.
^ "Interview: Danny Elfman". The
Jewish Chronicle. March 4, 2010.
Archived from the original on March 10, 2010. Retrieved August 26,
^ Sean O'Neal (October 27, 2014). "
Danny Elfman on Oingo Boingo, film
scores, and the Beatles almost ruining Batman". AV Music. Retrieved
March 4, 2018.
Danny Elfman profile". Film Reference. Retrieved January 2,
^ M. Glionna, John (April 18, 1999). "
Danny Elfman Pinged From Oingo
Boingo Front Man to Prolific Movie Score Writer. Now This Oddball May
Pong Into Directing His Own Scripts". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved
December 26, 2016.
Oingo Boingo - The Complete History". Buzzine. May 7, 2009.
Archived from the original on January 16, 2010. Retrieved January 2,
^ Vaughn, Chelle (April 4, 1996). "Danny Elfman". Video Entertainment
Magazine. Boingo. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
^ "Composed #2 – Danny Elfman". Cinetropolis. 26 August 2013.
^ Romano, Nick (November 1, 2015). "Danny Elfman: 'Dead Man's Party'
performed after 20 years". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved December
^ a b Silber, Frederic (1989). "Danny Elfman: Wunderkind of
Filmmusic". Fanfare. Boingo. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
^ Salisbury, Burton, pp.137-144
^ Ng, David (September 18, 2013). "
Danny Elfman concert of Tim Burton
film music adds third performance". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved
October 10, 2013.
^ "Danny Elfman's Music from the Films of Tim Burton". BBC Concert
Orchestra. Archived from the original on December 30, 2013. Retrieved
October 10, 2013.
^ Goodman, Jessica (January 21, 2017). "See the star-studded tracklist
for Fifty Shades Darker soundtrack". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved
February 19, 2017.
^ Vozick-Levinson, Simon (November 2, 2010). "Aaron Sorkin writing
Hugh Jackman's Houdini musical: Composer
Danny Elfman has 'high
hopes'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on November
5, 2010. Retrieved December 4, 2010.
^ Potts, Kimberly (January 4, 2012). "Hugh Jackman, Aaron Sorkin
Teaming for 'Houdini' Musical". The Wrap. Retrieved December 26,
^ "Iris". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
^ Bowe, Miles (October 14, 2016). "
Danny Elfman composed a horror
score for Donald Trump's awful debate performance". FACT. Retrieved
October 14, 2016.
^ Canfield, David (October 14, 2016). "
Danny Elfman Wrote a Horror
Movie Score Specifically For the Footage of Trump Looming Over
Hillary". Slate. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
^ a b Lustig, Jessica (2005). "So
Danny Elfman Walks into Carnegie
Hall..." American Composers. Retrieved May 7, 2012.
^ a b Florino, Rick (December 14, 2010). "
Danny Elfman Talks Tim
Burton Scores, Bernard Hermann's Influence and More". ARTIST direct.
Retrieved May 7, 2012.
^ Halfyard, Janet. Danny Elfman's Batman: A Film Score Guide.
Scarecrow Press. p. 6. ISBN 978-0810851269.
^ Friedman, Ann (February 5, 2015). "Even
Kim Gordon Doesn't Have It
All". The New Republic. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
^ M. Silverman, Stephen (December 4, 2003). "PASSAGES: Bridget Fonda's
Boingo Wedding". People. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
^ Carpenter, Cassie (June 5, 2015). "
Bridget Fonda and husband Danny
Elfman drop $3.6M on four-bedroom time capsule in LA's historic
Fremont Place". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
^ Maslin, Janet (December 11, 1998). "FILM REVIEW; A Frozen Setting
Frames a Chilling Tale". The New York Times. Retrieved March 9,
^ a b Phull, Hardeep (July 4, 2015). "How 'Batman' almost broke
composer Danny Elfman". New York Post. Archived from the original on
July 5, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
^ Stambler, Irwin (1989). Encyclopedia of Pop, Rock and Soul (Rev.
ed.). New York: St. Martin's Press. pp. 495–497.
^ Elfman, Danny (October 30, 2008). "Battling Our Greatest Fear". The
Huffington Post. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
^ Denman-Underhill, Lori (October 22, 2015). "Overcoming Stage Fright,
Danny Elfman Brings Nightmare to the Bowl". L.A. Weekly. Archived from
the original on October 22, 2015. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
^ Parker, Lyndsey (December 24, 2014). "A
Danny Elfman Q&A: From
Boingo to Burton". Yahoo!. Archived from the original on March 9,
2017. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
^ Ng, David (September 5, 2016). "'Nightmare Before Christmas' and
Danny Elfman returning to
Hollywood Bowl for 2016 Hallowee". Los
Angeles Times. Archived from the original on September 5, 2016.
Retrieved March 9, 2017.
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Danny Elfman.
Wikiquote has quotations related to: Danny Elfman
Danny Elfman on IMDb
Danny Elfman at AllMusic
Danny Elfman discography at Discogs
Danny Elfman discography at MusicBrainz
Johnny "Vatos" Hernandez
Only a Lad
Nothing to Fear
Good for Your Soul
So-Lo (as Danny Elfman)
Dead Man's Party
Dark at the End of the Tunnel
Farewell: Live from the Universal Amphitheatre, Halloween 1995
The Best of Oingo Boingo: Skeletons in the Closet
Best O' Boingo
Oingo Boingo EP
"Dead Man's Party"
List of members
Dead Bands Party: A Tribute to Oingo Boingo
Forbidden Zone (soundtrack)
Tito & Tarantula
Satellite Award for Best Original Score
Gabriel Yared (1996)
James Horner (1997)
Hans Zimmer (1998)
Danny Elfman (1999)
Hans Zimmer (2000)
Craig Armstrong (2001)
Elliot Goldenthal (2002)
Hans Zimmer (2003)
John Swihart (2004)
Harry Gregson-Williams (2005)
Gustavo Santaolalla (2006)
Alberto Iglesias (2007)
A. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman (2008)
Rolfe Kent (2009)
Hans Zimmer (2010)
Marco Beltrami (2011)
Alexandre Desplat (2012)
Steven Price (2013)
Antonio Sánchez (2014)
Carter Burwell (2015)
Justin Hurwitz (2016)
Rupert Gregson-Williams (2017)
Saturn Award for Best Music
Bernard Herrmann (1973)
Miklós Rózsa (1974/75)
David Raksin (1976)
John Williams (1977)
John Williams (1978)
Miklós Rózsa (1979)
John Barry (1980)
John Williams (1981)
John Williams (1982)
James Horner (1983)
Jerry Goldsmith (1984)
Bruce Broughton (1985)
Alan Menken (1986)
Alan Silvestri (1987)
Christopher Young (1988)
Alan Silvestri (1989/90)
Loek Dikker (1991)
Angelo Badalamenti (1992)
Danny Elfman (1993)
Howard Shore (1994)
John Ottman (1995)
Danny Elfman (1996)
Danny Elfman (1997)
John Carpenter (1998)
Danny Elfman (1999)
James Horner (2000)
John Williams (2001)
Danny Elfman (2002)
Howard Shore (2003)
Alan Silvestri (2004)
John Williams (2005)
John Ottman (2006)
Alan Menken (2007)
James Newton Howard
James Newton Howard and
Hans Zimmer (2008)
James Horner (2009)
Hans Zimmer (2010)
Michael Giacchino (2011)
Danny Elfman (2012)
Frank Ilfman (2013)
Hans Zimmer (2014)
John Williams (2015)
Justin Hurwitz (2016)
Note: The years are listed as per convention, usually the year of film
release; the ceremonies are usually held the next year.
ISNI: 0000 0001 2121 0734
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