Danny Elfman

Because he hailed from the annals of rock music and was never a classically trained musician, Danny Elfman struggled to gain acceptance among his peers on the road to becoming one of Hollywood's most prolific and respected film composers. Elfman began his career in the late-1970s as the singer-songwriter of the acclaimed rock band Oingo Boingo, which developed a significant following in Southern California, but failed to reach national prominence. Unable to quell occasional rumors that others had written his own scores, he found success to be the best revenge, particularly in his long-running collaboration with director Tim Burton. In fact, Elfman worked with the director on most of his films, including "Batman" (1989), "Sleepy Hollow" (1999) and "Big Fish" (2003) - the latter of which earned him an Academy Award nomination. Though he often cited Prokofiev, Stravinsky and Bartok as his favorite classical composers, Elfman felt greater affinity to classic Hollywood composers Bernard Herrmann, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Miklos Rozsa and Franz Waxman, whose influence were heard in his scores for "Men in Black" (1997) and "A Simple Plan" (1998). By the time he composed his Oscar-nominated score for "Milk" (2008), Elfman had gained the respect of his critics while becoming one the top echelon composers working in Hollywood.