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Thomas Newman

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Also Known As: Thomas Montgomery Newman Died:
Born: October 20, 1955 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Los Angeles, California, USA Profession: composer, musician

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A member of the famed Newman dynasty of Hollywood composers and industry players, Thomas Newman provided memorable scores for several of the greatest films of his era. While early compositions for such 1980s offerings as "Desperately Seeking Susan" (1985) and "The Lost Boys" (1987) relied heavily on electronics, Newman's later efforts on projects like "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994) embraced a more traditional, orchestral sound. Work with frequent collaborator, director Sam Mendes, on the dysfunctional family drama "American Beauty" (1999) earned him widespread critical praise. Though he dealt primarily with film, Newman often intermixed feature work like the score to director Steven Soderbergh's "Erin Brockovich" (2000) with crafting music for such highly regarded television programs as "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05). Other highlights of an already admirable career included the compositions for Mendes' gangster drama "Road to Perdition" (2002) and two of Pixar's most beloved animated features, "Finding Nemo" (2004) and "WALL-E" (2008). Another partnership with Mendes on the 23rd James Bond film "Skyfall" (2012) once again garnered the composer industry-wide accolades for his stirring score....

A member of the famed Newman dynasty of Hollywood composers and industry players, Thomas Newman provided memorable scores for several of the greatest films of his era. While early compositions for such 1980s offerings as "Desperately Seeking Susan" (1985) and "The Lost Boys" (1987) relied heavily on electronics, Newman's later efforts on projects like "The Shawshank Redemption" (1994) embraced a more traditional, orchestral sound. Work with frequent collaborator, director Sam Mendes, on the dysfunctional family drama "American Beauty" (1999) earned him widespread critical praise. Though he dealt primarily with film, Newman often intermixed feature work like the score to director Steven Soderbergh's "Erin Brockovich" (2000) with crafting music for such highly regarded television programs as "Six Feet Under" (HBO, 2001-05). Other highlights of an already admirable career included the compositions for Mendes' gangster drama "Road to Perdition" (2002) and two of Pixar's most beloved animated features, "Finding Nemo" (2004) and "WALL-E" (2008). Another partnership with Mendes on the 23rd James Bond film "Skyfall" (2012) once again garnered the composer industry-wide accolades for his stirring score. Newman's signature sound brought together the past, present and future of film composition, gradually securing his status as one of Hollywood's most accomplished and innovative composers.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Quicksilver (1986)
2.
 Cape Fear (1962) Lieutenant Gervasi
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Played keyboards for the rock band The Innocents, with whom he recorded a couple of singles and one album
:
Mentored by Stephen Sondheim in NYC, where he also met then-casting agent Scott Rudin, who later would offer him his first film job
1984:
Received initial film credit for the song "Understanding Gravity" from "Reckless"
1984:
First feature score, "Grandview, USA"
1984:
First TV credit, the CBS movie "The Seduction of Gina"
1985:
Scored Susan Seidelman's "Desperately Seeking Susan"
1985:
Scored the theme music to the series, "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (USA, NBC)
1987:
Initial collaboration with producer Jon Avnet, "Less Than Zero"
1989:
Re-teamed with Seidelman for "Cookie"
1990:
Second film with Avnet as producer, "Men Don't Leave"
1991:
First film with Avnet as director, "Fried Green Tomatoes"
1992:
Scored the music for Martin Brest's "Scent of a Woman"
1992:
Scored Robert Altman's "The Player"
1993:
Leapt forward stylistically (to his mind) with the score for Steve Kloves' "Flesh and Bone"; caught the attention of director Gillian Armstrong
1994:
Re-teamed with Avnet on the director's "The War"
1994:
Received two Academy Award nominations for Armstrong's "Little Women" and Frank Darabont's "The Shawshank Redemption"
1995:
Garnered another Academy Award nomination for Diane Keaton's "Unstrung Heroes"
1996:
Once again teamed with producer-director Avnet for "Up Close and Personal"
1997:
Scored Avnet's "Red Corner"
1998:
Composed the music for Robert Redford's "The Horse Whisperer"
1998:
Re-teamed with Armstrong on "Oscar and Lucinda" and with Brest on "Meet Joe Black"
1999:
Scored the music for "American Beauty" and "The Green Mile"; receiving an Academy Award nomination for the former; the latter re-teamed him with Darabont
2000:
Wrote the music for the films "Erin Brockovich" and "Pay It Forward"
2002:
Penned the score for "In the Bedroom"
2002:
Composed the music for the feature "Road to Perdition"; received an Academy Award nomination for Best Orignal Score
2003:
Scored the music for the animated ferature "Finding Nemo"; received an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score
2003:
Scored the music for the HBO miniseries "Angels in America"; Received a Grammy nomination for Best Score
2004:
Composed the music for "Lemony Snicket¿s A Series of Unfortunate Events"; earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Score
2006:
Earned an Oscar nomination for Best Music (Score) for the film "The Good German"
2006:
Composed the music for Todd Field's "Little Children"
2008:
Earned two Grammy nominations for song and score for the film "Wall-E"; also earned Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for the song "Down to Earth; earned a second Academy Award nomination for Achievement in music (Original score)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Southern California: Los Angeles , California -
Yale University: New Haven , Connecticut -

Notes

"His work is full of atmosphere, tension and layers like no other composer I know of. My sound editors tell me his music has 'air' in it, meaning he understands the need for music to play alongside sound effects. Above all, he thinks about storytelling, how music can carry subtext, and subconscious meanings." --Gillian Armstrong quoted in Daily Variety, July 15, 1997

"I've worked with a small group of players for many, many years now. I come in with sketchy stuff, kind of skeletal materials, and I need their help in establishing what instruments we could go with and what register of those instruments. It's quite collaborative, musically. My core players are Rick Cox, who does sound design and plays prepared guitar; Michael Fisher, percussion; and George Doering, who is a master of all types of strumming instruments--guitars, mandolins and such. There were about six or seven solo small ensemble players for 'American Beauty' and it's a good group. I try to set up an intuitive kind of environment where we're doing as little talking as we can and just try things out. I welcome input from them. They really polish me up." --Thomas Newman quoted in The Hollywood Reporter Film & TV Music Special Issue, January 2000

On the necessity for subtlety in film scores: "You want to say as little as you can and get the most punch out of it, always with the knowledge that people are not in the theater to listen to your music so much as to respond to the movie. You're a part of the experience." --Newman in Daily Variety Gotham, January 21, 2000

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Anne Marie Zerbes.

Family close complete family listing

uncle:
Robert Newman. Producer, executive. Born in 1903; died in 1982.
uncle:
Marc Newman. Agent. Born in 1908; died in 1980.
uncle:
Emil Newman. Composer. Born in 1910; died on August 30, 1984.
uncle:
Lionel Newman. Composer, conductor, musical director. Born in 1916; died on February 2, 1989; succeeded brother Alfred at Fox; won Oscar for "Hello, Dolly!" (1969).
brother:
David Newman. Composer, conductor. Born in March 1954; received Oscar nomination for the score of "Anastasia" (1997).
sister:
Maria Newman. Composer, musician. Born c. 1962.
cousin:
Randy Newman. Composer, singer, pianist, conductor, screenwriter. Born on November 28, 1943 in Los Angeles.
father:
Alfred Newman.
mother:
Martha Montgomery Newman.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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