Danny Elfman, born on May 29, 1953, is a renowned American singer, composer, and songwriter. He gained fame as the singer-songwriter for the new wave band Oingo Boingo in the early 1980s. Since then, Elfman has achieved international recognition and composed over 100 feature film scores, along with compositions for television, stage productions, and the concert hall. In this blog post, we will delve into the life and career of this exceptional artist.
Early Life and Education:
Danny Elfman was born in Amarillo, Texas, to a Jewish family of Polish-Jewish and Russian-Jewish descent. His father, Milton Elfman, was a teacher in the Air Force and the brother of actor, musician, and journalist Richard Elfman. His mother, Blossom Elfman (née Bernstein), was a writer and teacher.
Elfman grew up in a racially diverse community in Baldwin Hills, California. During his high school days in the late 1960s, he developed a passion for music and was introduced to early jazz and the works of composers like Stravinsky.
After completing his high school education, Elfman joined his brother Richard in France, where he performed violin with an avant-garde musical theater group called Jérôme Savary’s Le Grand Magic Circus.
He also embarked on a self-guided tour through Africa, playing music and collecting West African percussion instruments. Upon his return to Los Angeles, Elfman became the musical director of his brother’s street theatre performance art troupe, The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.
Rise to Prominence:
Elfman composed songs and his first film score for the movie Forbidden Zone, which was created as a farewell to The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.
His talent caught the attention of Tim Burton and Paul Reubens, who invited him to score their film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure in 1985. Despite his lack of formal training, Elfman’s music for the film was a success, drawing inspiration from early film music and renowned composers such as Nino Rota and Bernard Herrmann.
Impressive Career and Net Worth:
Danny Elfman has gone on to compose music for numerous television shows and films, amassing a net worth of approximately $50 million. Besides his work in Oingo Boingo and film scoring, he has ventured into various other musical projects, showcasing his versatility and talent as a composer and songwriter.
In terms of his personal life, Elfman dated his classmate Kim Gordon, who later became a member of the rock band Sonic Youth. However, they did not marry. He was first married to Geri Eisenmenger, with whom he has two daughters named Lola and Mali. Elfman later married actress Bridget Fonda, and they have a son named Oliver. Since a young age, Elfman has identified as an atheist and considers himself a cynicologist.
Danny Elfman’s contributions to the music industry as a singer, composer, and songwriter have left an indelible mark. His ability to create captivating scores and his extensive body of work have solidified his status as one of the most celebrated and respected artists in the field. Whether through his compositions for films or his iconic performances with Oingo Boingo, Elfman continues to captivate audiences worldwide with his talent and musical genius