Danny Elfman is a prominent American composer, singer, songwriter, and actor known for his outstanding contribution to the music and film industry. He is renowned for his work as the lead singer and songwriter for the rock band Oingo Boingo and for his exceptional music composition for various television shows and films. With a net worth of $50 million, Danny Elfman’s career spans over several decades, and his work has been widely recognized and praised by audiences and critics alike.
Danny Elfman was born on May 29, 1953, in Los Angeles, California, to mother Blossom, a teacher and writer, and father Milton, a teacher and Air Force veteran. He grew up in a Jewish household with his brother Richard, who is an actor, journalist, and musician. During his early years, Elfman enjoyed spending time at the local cinema, where he watched horror, science-fiction, and fantasy movies and was introduced to the scores of composers Franz Waxman and Bernard Herrmann.
In high school, Elfman became interested in music after being introduced to jazz and Stravinsky by his classmates. However, he was initially rejected from the school orchestra for “having no propensity for music.” Despite this, he went on to pursue music and attended classes in the Indonesian music department at CalArts, where he performed for several years.
Elfman’s career in music began with The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo, a musical theater group formed by his brother Richard. The group performed in nightclubs and on the streets of L.A. until the late 1970s, after which Richard left to pursue a career as a filmmaker. Danny then took over as the lead singer and composer, and the group became a new wave band called Oingo Boingo.
Oingo Boingo released eight studio albums between 1981 and 1994, and their single “Weird Science” was the theme song for the film and TV series of the same name. Elfman’s work with the band caught the attention of filmmakers Tim Burton and Paul Reubens, who enlisted him to write the score for the 1985 film “Pee-wee’s Big Adventure.” This led to a long-standing collaboration between Elfman and Burton, with Elfman composing the scores for 16 of Burton’s films to date.
In addition to his film work, Elfman has also written scores or theme music for numerous television shows, most notably “The Simpsons” and “Desperate Housewives.” He has received several awards and nominations for his work, including four Academy Award nominations and thirteen Grammy nominations, winning one for Best Instrumental Composition for “Batman Theme.”
“The Simpsons” Royalties
One interesting fact about Elfman’s work on “The Simpsons” is that he composed the theme song in 1998, which has allowed him to earn performance royalties forever. As long as “The Simpsons” continues to air, which is likely forever, Elfman will continue to earn royalties for singing the three notes “The Simpsonnnnss” at the beginning of the theme song. In interviews, Elfman has stated that these three notes “made him rich,” earning him far more than he earned to compose the actual tune.
Elfman has been married twice and has three children. His first wife was Geri Eisenmenger, with whom he had two daughters, Lola and Mali. After their divorce, Elfman married actress Bridget Fonda, with whom he has a son, Oliver. Elfman has also dated future Sonic Youth vocalist/guitarist/bassist Kim Gordon during his teenage years.