Monday, December 04, 2006

Obituary: Shirley Walker

Another great musical talent has been extinguished. Shirley Walker, composer of much of the music from Batman's animated adventures, the Final Destination movies has died of an aneurysm at age 61.

Walker was the first woman to receive sole composing credit on a Hollywood studio picture, on Memoirs of an Invisible Man in 1992 and won a Daytime Emmy for her work on the animated Batman series.

Once a piano soloist with the San Francisco Symphony, Walker's first credit was as a synthesizer player on Apocalypse Now. She went on to work as a conductor and orchestrator for Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer, working on such features as Days Of Thunder, Batman, Dick Tracy and Backdraft.

She wrote robust themes for sci-fi, action and superhero series, including Batman Beyond, Spawn and Space: Above and Beyond. In 1996, she scored John Carpenter's futuristic action film Escape From L.A. and a year later, Robert Butler's Turbulance.

For me, Walker will be best known for one of the greatest scores to an animated motion picture- Batman: Mask Of The Phantasm where she rewrote Batman's theme and created a whole language for her choir to sing:- their own names and the names of Warner Bros. executives backwards.

Ryan Keaveney has an excellent resource including sound clips for Shirley Walker here.

1 comment:

Civilian Overseer said...

BORING!!, take note, Lt.Col, such womanish sentiment shall not be tolerated much longer. Now entertain us.