In-depth Biography Composer Hans Zimmer was born September 12, 1957 in Frankfurt, Germany; after relocating to London as a teen, he later wrote advertising jingles for Air-Edel Associates, and in 1980 collaborated with the Buggles on their LP The Age of Plastic and its accompanying hit "Video Killed the Radio Star." A stint with Ultravox followed before Zimmer next surfaced with the Italian avant-garde group Krisma; he then formed a partnership with film composer Stanley Myers, and together they founded the London-based Lillie Yard recording studio. Zimmer and Myers' movie work of the period, which included material for pictures including Moonlighting, Success Is the Best Revenge, Insignificance, and the acclaimed My Beautiful Launderette, made significant strides in fusing the traditional orchestral aesthetic of film composition with state-of-the-art electronics, and proved highly influential on countless soundtracks to follow.
In 1986 Zimmer joined David Byrne and Ryuichi Sakamoto on their Oscar-winning score to The Last Emperor; his work on the apartheid drama A World Apart was his first major solo credit, and led to his Academy Award-nominated score for 1988's Best Picture-winning smash Rain Man. The following year Zimmer again composed the soundtrack for a Best Picture winner, this time Bruce Beresford's Driving Miss Daisy; a remarkably prolific writer, by the time the '90s dawned his music was a Hollywood staple, with a list of hits including Black Rain, Backdraft, Thelma & Louise, A League of Their Own, and Days of Thunder. Zimmer scored his biggest commercial hit in 1994 with his work on Disney's The Lion King; the film's soundtrack garnered countless awards, including an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and two Grammys. Later adapted for the Broadway stage, The Lion King took home the 1998 Tony for Best Musical as well.
In 1995, Zimmer also earned a Grammy for his work on Crimson Tide, which was honored as Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture. Another Academy Award nomination followed for 1996's The Preacher's Wife; that same year, he earned BMI's prestigious Richard Kirk Award for lifetime achievement. 1997 saw Zimmer earn another Oscar nom for his work on the James L. Brooks comedy As Good as It Gets, repeating the feat for the third consecutive year in 1998 with his score for the Terence Malick masterpiece The Thin Red Line. His contributions to The Prince of Egypt also earned a Golden Globe bid earlier that same year.
The 2000s marked an auspicious time in the composer's career, as he continued scoring the biggest A-list films of the season, averaging two or three blockbusters a year, including Hannibal, Gladiator, The Last Samurai, Batman Begins, and The Da Vinci Code. In 2007, Silva Screen Records released Film Music of Hans Zimmer, a double-disc set highlighting his achievements as a movie-music maker. Later in 2007, he reworked Alf Clausen's zany Simpsons theme into a traditional symphonic film score on The Simpsons Movie. ~ Jason Ankeny, Rovi