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Famous German-Americans: Film Music Composer Hans Zimmer

Written by Emma Pedersen

If you watch movies, you may already be familiar with the name Hans Zimmer. As a world-renowned composer and producer, he is one of the most prominent Germans in Hollywood. Zimmer began his music career in London, before transitioning into Hollywood films. He now resides outside Los Angeles with his family.

In 1957, Hans Zimmer was born in Frankfurt, West Germany and moved to London during his teenage years. He comes from German-Jewish roots; his mother escaped Nazi Germany by fleeing to the UK. Even from childhood, Hans Zimmer knew he wanted to compose music. Despite never receiving any formal musical education, he is now one of Hollywood’s most accomplished composers.

Zimmer’s first taste of fame came from his collaboration with the Buggles on the song “Video Killed the Radio Star,” which became the first music video ever played on MTV. In the 1980s, Zimmer entered the film industry. When he composed the score for 1988’s “Rain Man”, he earned acclaim and filmmakers began to seek him out for projects. Since then, Zimmer has composed over one hundred original film scores and established a reputation for innovation and creativity. Zimmer is unique in his presentation as well as his sound. While most film composers stay behind the scenes, Zimmer performs on stage as well as on screen. Last year, he headlined his own national and world tour, including an appearance at Coachella.

Now, Hans Zimmer has a star on the Boulevard der Stars in Berlin, as well as on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He has an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, an American Music Award, a Tony, and two Grammys for films as wide-ranging as “Rain Man”, “The Lion King”, “The Prince of Egypt”, and “Gladiator”. In 2019, you can listen to Hans Zimmer’s work in “Wonder Woman 84.”

An incomplete list of Hans Zimmer’s movie scores:


Photo Credit: Richard Yaussi, Creative Commons

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