Daniel Robert Elfman, born May 29, 1953, professionally known as Danny Elfman, is an American singer, composer and songwriter. He came to prominence as the singer-songwriter for the new wave band Oingo Boingo in the early 1980s.
Danny Elfman was born in Amarilo, Texas to a Jewish family of Polish-Jewish and Russian-Jewish descent and the son of Blossom Elfman (née Bernstein), a famous teacher, writer and Milton Elfman, a teacher who worked in the Air Force.
Since he came into the spotlight, Elfman has garnered international recognition and composed over 100 feature film scores, with compositions for television, stage productions, and the concert hall.
Early Life and Education
Danny Elfman was born in Amarillo, Texas, to a Jewish family of Polish-Jewish and Russian-Jewish descent. His father is Milton Elfman, a teacher who worked in the Air Force, and the brother of actor, musician, and journalist Richard Elfman. While the mother is Blossom Elfman (née Bernstein), a writer and teacher.
He was raised in a racially mixed affluent community in Baldwin Hills, California. He spent most of his time at the local movie theater discovering classic sci-fi, horror and fantasy films. He first noticed the music of such film composers as Bernard Herrmann and Franz Waxman.
While in school, Elfman developed interest for science with less interest in music, and was rejected from elementary school orchestra due to her lack of passion for music. However, during his high school days in the late 1960s, he fell in love with musical crowd that introduced him to early jazz with the work of Stravinsky and his 20th-century contemporaries.
After his high school education, Elfman joined his brother Richard to France, where he performed violin with Jérôme Savary’s Le Grand Magic Circus, an avant-garde musical theater group.
He also embarked on 10-month, self-guided tour through Africa, busking and collecting different West African percussion instruments. He returned home after a series of illnesses.
Danny Elfman retured to Los Angeles from Africa in the early 1970s, and his brother Richard asked him to serve as musical director of his street theatre performance art troupe The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.
He performed on the street and in nightclubs in Los Angeles until Richard left in 1979 to pursue filmmaking. His brother created the film Forbidden Zone as a send-off to the group’s original concept.
Elfman composed the songs and his first score for the film, and appeared as the character Satan, who performs a reworked version of Calloway’s “Minnie the Moocher” with ensemble members playing backup as henchmen.
As fans of Oingo Boingo, Tim Burton and Paul Reubens invited Elfman to write the score for their first feature film Pee-wee’s Big Adventure in 1985.
He was Initially apprehensive because of his lack of formal training and having never scored a studio feature, but after his initial demo of the title music and with orchestration assistance from Oingo Boingo guitarist and arranger Steve Bartek was accepted, he completed his score to great effect, while paying homage to his love of early film music and influential film composers Nino Rota and Bernard Herrmann.
He described the first time he heard his music played by a full orchestra as one of the most thrilling experiences of his life
Danny Elfman Net Worth
Danny Elfman is an American singer, composer, songwriter, and actor with an estimated net worth of $50 million. He is famously known as the lead singer and songwriter for the rock band Oingo Boingo from 1979 to 1995 and for scoring music for numerous television shows and films.
Danny Elfman dated his classmate Kim Gordon, who would later become one of the members of the rock band Sonic Youth. Although their relationship didn’t lead to marriage.
He was married to Geri Eisenmenger with the marriage blessed with two daughters, Lola and Mali. One of her daughters, Mali, is an actress and film producer.
Elfman later married actress Bridget Fonda, and they have a son together named Oliver. He has been an atheist since the age of 11 or 12. According to him, he is a cynicologist.