Hans Zimmer

Active - 1982 - 2022  |   Born - Sep 12, 1957 in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Children's/Family, Thriller, Action

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Biography by Rebecca Flint Marx

An innovator in the use of computer-synthesized soundtracks, world-renowned composer Hans Zimmer pioneered the successful integration of digital synthesizers, advanced computer technology, and electronic keyboards with traditional orchestral music.

The German-born Zimmer began his career writing advertising jingles before teaming up with Trevor Horn and Geoff Downes as the Buggles to produce the smash single "Video Killed the Radio Star" and the subsequent album The Age of Plastic. Following a meeting with film composer Stanley Myers, the two set up the Lillie Yard Studio in London and began collaborating on a number of film soundtracks, including Jerzy Skolimowski's Moonlighting (1982), Nicholas Roeg's Insignificance (1985), and Stephen Frears' widely acclaimed My Beautiful Laundrette (1985).

Zimmer's career hit a turning point when, based on the strength of his score for the South African film A World Apart, he was asked to write the score for Rain Man (1988). His work on the film earned him an Academy award nomination, and he subsequently found himself scoring an increasing number of high-profile films, including Driving Miss Daisy (1989), Days of Thunder (1990), Backdraft (1991), and Thelma & Louise (1991). In 1994, Zimmer had his greatest critical success to date with his score for The Lion King, which won both Academy and Golden Globe awards. Two years later, he was again nominated for an Oscar for his work on As Good as It Gets, and in 1998, he was twice nominated for the Academy's Best Original Dramatic Score honor for his work on The Thin Red Line and The Prince of Egypt. Zimmer's Academy run continued in 2000 as he was nominated for Best Original Score for his work on Gladiator.

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  • His father died when he was 6, and he immersed himself in music as a way of coping.
  • Plays guitar, piano and various other keyboard instruments.
  • Was a member of the Buggles when they recorded "Video Killed the Radio Star," and was a member of the Italian band Krisma.
  • Learned how to score films while working for composer Stanley Myers.
  • Is best known for integrating electronic music and traditional orchestral sounds in film scores.
  • Has composed music for more than 100 films, including The Lion King, Rain Man, The Dark Knight and As Good as It Gets.
  • Received the National Board of Review Lifetime Achievement Award in Film Composition in 2003; and ASCAP's Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime Achievement that same year. 
  • Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010.