Shirley Walker

Active - 1979 - 2012  |   Born - Jan 1, 1945   |   Died - Nov 30, 2006   |   Genres - Action, Horror, Thriller, Drama, Children's/Family

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During her all-too-brief 27-year career, composer Shirley Walker carved out a comfortable niche for herself, both in the arena of musical performance on feature-film scores, and in the authorship of film scores. She demonstrated great versatility as an artist, but frequently gravitated to thrillers, horror pictures, and occasional action movies -- genres all wrought with high tension. Born in 1945, Walker first established herself in the late 1960s and '70s as an accomplished solo pianist with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. She transitioned to motion pictures by playing the synthesizer during the recording of Carmine Coppola's score for Apocalypse Now (1979), then debuted as a composer by scoring the 1982 indie drama The End of August, directed by Bob Graham, and signed to work as musical orchestrator and conductor for composers Danny Elfman (Batman [1989], Dick Tracy [1990]) and Hans Zimmer (Black Rain [1989], Backdraft [1991],A League of their Own [1992]).

In 1992, Walker made history by becoming the first female composer to earn a solo score credit on an A-list Hollywood motion picture -- for John Carpenter's Memoirs of an Invisible Man. In addition to her feature-film work, Shirley Walker scored such small-screen animated series as Batman Beyond, Spawn, Superman, and Batman: The Animated Series. Her work on the Batman series netted her a daytime Emmy. Walker died of a stroke at age 61, on November 30, 2006, shortly after completing the score for Glen Morgan's slasher film remake Black Christmas. She was survived by two sons, Ian and Colin.

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