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Tim Burton

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Also Known As: Timothy W Burton, Timothy William Burton Died:
Born: August 25, 1958 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Burbank, California, USA Profession: director, producer, screenwriter, cartoonist, animator

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

od piece also featured Martin Landau in an astonishing, Academy Award-winning turn as an aged and drug-addicted Bela Lugosi, the actor who had portrayed Count Dracula in early 1930s Universal films. While smaller in scope than his last three outings, "Ed Wood" was also the first Burton movie grounded in a truthful, albeit bizarre, historical reality, unlike the internally consistent but fictional worlds of "Scissorhands" and the "Batman" movies. The cinematic love letter to Hollywood's Poverty Row, "Ed Wood" was an extremely personal film, and many critics cited parallels between Wood's relationship with Lugosi to Burton's with Price. Despite its vivid recreation of time and place, it unfortunately did not appeal to mass tastes, bringing his string of box office successes to an end. Nonetheless, Burton's passion and love for filmmaking â¿¿ much the same as Ed Wood's own feelings â¿¿ was evident in every frame.Burton turned his attention next to "Mars Attacks!" (1996), a big budget special effects bonanza that spoofed the grade-Z sci-fi thrillers of the 1950s and 1960s. Boasting an all-star cast that included Annette Bening, Glenn Close, Michael J. Fox and Jack Nicholson in a dual role, the film...

od piece also featured Martin Landau in an astonishing, Academy Award-winning turn as an aged and drug-addicted Bela Lugosi, the actor who had portrayed Count Dracula in early 1930s Universal films. While smaller in scope than his last three outings, "Ed Wood" was also the first Burton movie grounded in a truthful, albeit bizarre, historical reality, unlike the internally consistent but fictional worlds of "Scissorhands" and the "Batman" movies. The cinematic love letter to Hollywood's Poverty Row, "Ed Wood" was an extremely personal film, and many critics cited parallels between Wood's relationship with Lugosi to Burton's with Price. Despite its vivid recreation of time and place, it unfortunately did not appeal to mass tastes, bringing his string of box office successes to an end. Nonetheless, Burton's passion and love for filmmaking â¿¿ much the same as Ed Wood's own feelings â¿¿ was evident in every frame.

Burton turned his attention next to "Mars Attacks!" (1996), a big budget special effects bonanza that spoofed the grade-Z sci-fi thrillers of the 1950s and 1960s. Boasting an all-star cast that included Annette Bening, Glenn Close, Michael J. Fox and Jack Nicholson in a dual role, the film combined live-action with superb animation to tell its overly self-satisfied, ultimately one-note tale of an alien invasion of earth. Fabulous production design could not carry the day, however, proving that Burton's unquestioned visual genius needed to be a strong supporting character to a strong narrative. Its box office failure was due in part to the success of the similarly themed blockbuster, "Independence Day" (1996), released some five months earlier. Though not branding the wunderkind an overnight pariah, certainly studios were more cautious whether or not Burton's delightfully demented vision would continue to sell.

Burton rebounded with "Sleepy Hollow" (1999), a loosely based adaptation of Washington Irving's famous story, starring Depp â¿¿ who was fast becoming Burton's onscreen male muse â¿¿ as discredited professor Ichabod Crane, who is exiled to Sleepy Hollow where he confronts the local myth of the headless horseman. While "Sleepy Hollow" successfully grafted Burton's unique sensibilities onto a well-known tale, he was far less successful with the next established property he tackled, an overdone, over-the-top remake of "Planet of the Apes" (2001) that failed to capitalize on either the principal appeal of the source material or Burton's established cinematic style. Starring Mark Wahlberg as an American pilot stranded in an upside-down world ruled by apes, the film of course featured Burton's trademark stunning design, but thanks to a poorly conceived story, it proved to be a major bump in his career. Burton took a well-received step forward with " Big Fish" (2003), the tale of a disgruntled young man (Billy Crudup) and his dying father (Albert Finney) trying to reconcile their relationship, despite the father's overblown tales of his youth (played in flashback by Ewan McGregor). Perhaps inspired by his own family difficulties, "Big Fish" provided Burton with a heartfelt tale upon which to graft his visionary quirks.

For Burton, it was on to another even more fanciful and outrageous project â¿¿ this time with his frequent collaborator Depp as the magical candy maker Willie Wonka for Burton's version of author Roald Dahl's "Charlie & the Chocolate Factory" (2005). Burton's interpretation hewed closer to the book and was predictably darker. But he also imbued it with his uniquely imaginative touch, making what The Hollywood Reporter called "a film about kids and for kids that has not lost touch with what it is like to actually be a kid." That same year, Burton conceived, produced and co-directed another stop-motion animated opus for youngsters, "Tim Burton's Corpse Bride," the story of a young Victorian man (voiced by Depp) who is whisked away to the underworld to wed a mysterious undead woman (voiced by Burton's frequent collaborator and new girlfriend, Helena Bonham Carter), but seeks to escape and reunite with his true love.

Once again back in top form, Burton directed perhaps his best film to date, "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" (2007), a big screen adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Tony Award-winning horror musical; itself an adaptation of Christopher Bond's 1973 play. Burton again teamed with Johnny Depp, who played the titular character, an embittered ex-convict wrongly imprisoned by a lecherous judge who returns to his hometown to open a barber shop where he cuts the hair â¿¿ among other things â¿¿ of those who wronged him. Most critics raved about "Sweeney Todd," citing its macabre humor and unique genre twist as being perfect for Burton's dark sensibilities. Burton also received rare award recognition, earning a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director.

A relatively low-profile period followed for Burton, with a producer⿿s contribution on the visually arresting, but indifferently received animated fantasy "9" (2009) being his only credit. That was until "Alice in Wonderland" (2010), a big-budget, special effects-laden reinterpretation of Carroll⿿s classic, directed by Burton for Disney. Although relative newcomer Mia Wasikowska starred as the titular Alice, it was once again Depp, as the Mad Hatter, along with Bonham Carter⿿s Queen of Hearts, who stole the show. More action-adventure extravaganza than surreal fable, the movie was the biggest of Burton⿿s career and the second-highest grossing film of the year. Once again, the quirky filmmaker was a Hollywood darling. Two years later, Burton reteamed with Depp and Bonham Carter for the gothic horror-comedy "Dark Shadows" (2012), a loose adaptation of the spooky daytime soap opera from the late 1960s. Also starring Michelle Pfeiffer and Chlöe Grace Moretz, it took a decidedly campy take on the material, focusing more on resurrected vampire Barnabas Collins⿿ (Depp) fish-out-of-water story than the melodramatic horror elements of the original. Despite lofty expectations, it failed to satisfy most die-hard fans. Next up was the historical-horror hybrid "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" (2012), directed by Timur Bekmambetov and produced by Burton, followed by "Frankenweenie" (2012), a stop-motion big-screen adaptation of the short film he had made for Disney nearly 30 years earlier. The pet project fleshed out the story of a gifted boy who brings his dog Sparky back from the dead. Burton's next project, "Big Eyes" (2014), reunited him with "Ed Wood" screenwriters Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski for the true tale of Walter and Margaret Keane, whose paintings of saucer-eyed children were a popular sensation in the 1950s and '60s. The film, starring Christoph Waltz and Amy Adams, garnered Burton's most positive reviews in years.

ands," a moderate hit in commercial terms, went on to become the movie that remained closest to his heart. Burton returned to animation as producer and creator of "Tim Burton's 'The Nightmare Before Christmas'" (1993), the first full length stop-motion animated film produced by Disney. Burton first came up with the idea while employed by the studio in the early 1980s, though it spent the next decade languishing in development hell. He finally had the project green-lit when he turned it over the reigns to old friend and animator Henry Selick. Wildly imaginative in its excursion to the macabre, this twisted cousin to cuddly Disney classics only confirmed Burton as a commercial wunderkind and made the film required holiday viewing at either Christmas or Halloween.

With his next feature, "Ed Wood" (1994), Burton finally began to earn the respect of critics who previous savaged his work, particularly the writing. His decision to shoot in black and white, however, caused Columbia to pull out, leaving the field clear for Disney. Starring Johnny Depp as "the world's worst director," Burton's first peri

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Designed anti-litter poster that won top prize in local California refuse company contest, while still in high school; Burton's artwork adorned Burbank garbage trucks for one year
:
After graduating from art school, worked as animator at Walt Disney Studios
1982:
Released first animated (stop-motion) short film "Vincent"; won several film festival awards
1984:
Made live-action short "Frankenweenie" about a boy who brings his deceased dog back to life; film inspired Paul Reubens to give him his first feature directing assignment
1985:
Feature directing debut, "Pee-Wee's Big Adventure" starring Reubens (aka Pee Wee Herman); also marked first collaboration with music composer Danny Elfman
1988:
First collaboration with Michael Keaton, Wynona Ryder and Jeffrey Jones, "Beetlejuice"
1989:
Founded Tim Burton Productions
1989:
Helmed the enormously popular "Batman," starring Jack Nicholson as the Joker and Keaton as the Caped Crusader
1990:
First feature producing credit, "Edward Scissorhands," starring Johnny Depp and Ryder; also directed
1992:
Helmed "Batman Returns," starring Danny De Vito as the Penguin; Reubens showed up in cameo as the Penguin's father
1992:
Feature acting debut in Cameron Crowe's "Singles"
1993:
Produced "Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas," a 72-minute animated musical feature, directed by stop-motion guru and friend Henry Selick
1994:
Second feature with Depp starring as the title role in "Ed Wood"
1995:
Turned the directing reins over to Joel Schumacher but retained his connection to the franchise as a producer of "Batman Forever"
1996:
Produced Selick's stop-motion animated feature "James and the Giant Peach"
1996:
Produced and directed "Mars Attacks!"; second film with Nicholson, who played dual role of U.S. President and a sleazy Las Vegas car dealer
1998:
Directed first TV commercial, pitching Hollywood Gum for the European market
1999:
Reteamed with Depp (as Ichabod Crane) in "Sleepy Hollow," adapted from Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow"
2001:
Helmed the remake of "Planet of the Apes," starring Mark Wahlberg
2003:
Directed "Big Fish," a life-affirming story about fathers and sons starring Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor
2005:
Reteamed with Johnny Depp (as Willy Wonka) to remake Roald Dahl's classic tale "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"
2005:
Helmed the animated feature "Corpse Bride," featuring the voices of Depp and Helena Bonham Carter; received an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature
2007:
Directed "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," the feature adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Broadway musical; re-teamed with longtime collaborator Depp who played the title role; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Director for a Motion Picture
2009:
Produced the animated sci-fi film "9"
2010:
Directed the fantasy adventure film "Alice in Wonderland," an extension of the Lewis Carroll novels <i>Alice's Adventures in Wonderland</i> and <i>Through the Looking-Glass</i>
2012:
Once again directed Depp (as Barnabas Collins) in feature remake of the gothic soap opera "Dark Shadows"
2012:
Directed full-length animated feature "Frankenweenie" based on his 1984 short film
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

California Institute of the Arts: Valencia , California - 1979 - 1980

Notes

On the apoplectic response to "Batman Returns" and parental upset about a McDonald's merchandising tie-in: "I mean, I'm sorry, but I didn't ask to put this stuff on the side of a McDonald's carton. Besides, why aren't these people objecting to the junk McDonald's is pushing as food? I felt the whole controvery was simply remnants of the whole family values baloney. These movies are people running around in bad costumes. How relevant are we being here?" --Tim Burton, quoted in Daily News, October 12, 1993.

"If you take all these guys in a row--Batman, Beetlejuice, Pee-wee, Scissorhands, Skellington--they define Tim. The characters in his movies have an emptiness, they have soul and they have heart. They're trying to become accepted for their own weirdness. And they end up doing it . . . Just like their creator." --David Hoberman, president of Walt Disney Pictures and Touchstone Pictures quoted in "Writing Music to Horrify in a Disney Nightmare" by Joseph Gelmis in New York Newsday, November 12, 1993.

"Kind of sad, really, the way they experience the seasons in California, walking down the aisles at Thrifty's." --Burton on Christmas in California, quoted in People, November 22, 1993.

About his experience as an assistant animator on Disney's "The Fox and the Hound": "I felt they were saying, 'Okay, this is Disney--this is supposed to be the most incredible gathering of artists in the world.' At the same time they were saying, 'Just do it this way; shut up and become like a zombie factory worker.' After a while I was thinking, Is my restaurant job still available? I realized I'd rather be dead than work for five years on this movie." --Burton to Mimi Avins in Premiere, November 1993.

"Tim is a genius and I don't use that word lightly. The definition of a great artist is someone who doesn't care much what other people think. Tim cares what people think of his movies but he has that core essence, that compulsion, to do his art. I accept that about him. And his instincts are unerring. I've never seen them to be wrong on any small or large decision. Ever. His instincts emanate from a place that's very pure, truly artistic." --Producer Denise Di Novi on Burton's talent quoted in Movieline, June 1994.

"There's something beautiful in the catharsis of doing something, which a lot of people don't understand. I grew up around people who were afraid to do anything, and hid behind these masks of normality, just falling into line, not saying anything of their own, but just sort of together, like the angry villagers in 'Frankenstein'. Talent is secondary, really. If people ask, 'Who's your favorite filmmaker?' I don't have any favorites. I like anybody, I don't care if I've seen their movies or not . . . They should get a certain amount of credit for just fighting through things.

"I grew up in this puritanical American Dream kind of thing where everybody's suppose to be normal, and people attacked anybody who tried to make something . . . I shielded myself from that, and punched through it. Because I couldn't draw either. If I had listened to those people, I'd have ended up like everyone else. 'I can't do this, I can't do that." --Tim Burton to Village Voice, October 4, 1994.

"I enjoyed working with animation a little," he says. "But I love actors and sets and all of that. It's just more fun. No matter what you're doing, you stand back, and it's like there are all these people standing around in funny clothes looking at you and ... Maybe I seem to them like the most foul-tempered, sealed-off zombie creature, but I get such incredible joy. It's like a wonderful, absurd dream." ---Burton, quoted in Time Magazine November 24, 2003

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Lena Gieseke. Painter. German; married in February 1989; separated in spring 1992.
companion:
Lisa Marie. Model, actor. Appeared as Vampira in Burton's "Ed Wood", an alien in "Mars Attacks!" and in "Sleepy Hollow" and "Planet of the Apes"; together from 1992 until 2001; reportedly were engaged.
companion:
Helena Bonham Carter. Actor. Co-starred in "Planet of the Apes" (2001); began dating in October 2001.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Bill Burton. Minor league baseball player, parks sports coordinator. A Burbanks parks official.
mother:
Jean Burton. Shop manager. Once owned a cat accessory store.
son:
Billy Raymond Burton. Born October 4, 2003 in London; mother Helena Bonham Carter.

Bibliography close complete biography

"Burton on Burton" Faber and Faber
"The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories" William Morrow
"Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker" Renaissance Books

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