David Newman (composer)

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David Newman
Birth nameDavid Louis Newman
Born (1954-03-11) March 11, 1954 (age 68)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
GenresFilm score
Occupation(s)Composer, orchestrator, conductor
Instrument(s)Piano, violin
Years active1984–present

David Louis Newman (born March 11, 1954) is an American composer and conductor known particularly for his film scores. In a career spanning more than thirty years, he has composed music for nearly 100 feature films, as well as the 1997 and 1998 versions of the 20th Century Studios fanfare. He received an Academy Award nomination for writing the score to the 1997 film Anastasia, contributing to the Newmans being the most nominated Academy Award extended family, with a collective 92 nominations in various music categories.

Life and career[edit]

Newman was born on March 11, 1954, in Los Angeles, California, the son of Mississippi-born Martha Louis (née Montgomery) and Hollywood composer Alfred Newman. His paternal grandparents were Russian Jewish immigrants.[1] He is the older brother of Thomas Newman, Maria Newman and the cousin of Randy Newman, all of whom are also composers. He is also the nephew of composers Lionel Newman and Emil Newman, and first cousin, once removed, of musician Joey Newman. An accomplished violinist, and successful concert conductor, Newman was educated at the University of Southern California. From late 70s till early 80s he played violin on most of John Williams' L.A. scoring sessions, and credits him for learning much about film-music composition.[2]

His first film work was on Tim Burton's short film Frankenweenie in 1984. In 1987, he scored Danny DeVito's Throw Momma from the Train. This was his first collaboration with DeVito, and he went on to score nearly all of his subsequent films, including The War of the Roses (1989), Other People's Money (1991), Hoffa (1992), Matilda (1996) and Death to Smoochy (2002). Newman has also scored the comedies The Flintstones (1994), The Mighty Ducks (1992), The Nutty Professor (1996), Paradise (1991), and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989).

Newman's credits during the early years of his career were mostly scoring B-movies such as The Kindred (1987) and The Runestone (1990) before he gradually transitioned to score mostly comedy films during his prime such as Bowfinger (1999), The Freshman (1990), and The Spy Next Door (2010). His score for The Spirit (2008) was a tribute to Mancini's 1950s and 60s neo-noir scores such as Touch of Evil (1958) or Experiment in Terror (1962).

He received an Academy Award nomination for the score to the animated Don Bluth film Anastasia (1997), following his father, who scored the 1956 live-action version. However, he lost to Anne Dudley for The Full Monty. His other scores include Critters, The Phantom, The Brave Little Toaster, Malone, Ice Age, 102 Dalmatians and Serenity, among others.

In 1997, Newman began a four-year stint as the music director for the Sundance Institute, and he has conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestra on several occasions. That year, he also re-recorded the 20th Century Studios Fanfare that was originally composed by his father Alfred, to coincident with the re-opening of the Newman Scoring Stage at the Fox Studios Lot in LA, which debuted in the aforementioned Anastasia and is still being used permanently, using the 1998 version.

In February 2007, he was elected president of The Film Music Society.[3]

On May 21, 2009, Newman was honored with the Richard Kirk award at the annual BMI Film & Television Awards. The prestigious award is given annually to a composer who has made significant contributions to film and television music.[4]

Since 2012,[citation needed] Newman has conducted the RSO Vienna orchestra at the annual film music gala concert Hollywood in Vienna which is broadcast on radio and TV.

Newman is an alumnus and Board Member of the American Youth Symphony.[5]




Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
1984 Frankenweenie Tim Burton Walt Disney Pictures Short film
1986 Critters Stephen Herek New Line Cinema
Vendetta Bruce Logan Vestron Pictures
1987 The Kindred Stephen Carpenter
Jeffrey Obrow
FM Entertainment
My Demon Lover Charlie Loventhal New Line Cinema
Malone Harley Cokeliss Orion Pictures
The Brave Little Toaster Jerry Rees The Kushner-Locke Company
Hyperion Pictures
ITC Entertainment (UK theatrical)
Walt Disney Home Video (US video release)
David Newman's first score for an animated film
Throw Momma from the Train Danny DeVito Orion Pictures
1988 Heathers Michael Lehmann New World Pictures
1989 Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure Stephen Herek Nelson Entertainment
Interscope Communications
Orion Pictures (US)
De Laurentiis Entertainment Group (International)
Disorganized Crime Jim Kouf Silver Screen Partners IV
Touchstone Pictures
Little Monsters Richard Alan Greenberg Allied Stars Ltd
Davis Entertainment
Vestron Pictures (original production and distribution company)
United Artists (theatrical distribution; Vestron sold the movie to United Artists)
Gross Anatomy Thom Eberhardt Sandollar Productions
Silver Screen Partners IV
Touchstone Pictures
The War of the Roses Danny DeVito Gracie Films
20th Century Fox


Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
1990 Madhouse Tom Ropelewski Orion Pictures
Fire Birds David Green Touchstone Pictures
The Freshman Andrew Bergman TriStar Pictures
DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp Bob Hathcock DisneyToon Studios
Walt Disney Pictures
Mr. Destiny James Orr Silver Screen Partners IV
Touchstone Pictures
Meet the Applegates Michael Lehmann New World Pictures
1991 The Marrying Man Jerry Rees Silver Screen Partners IV
Hollywood Pictures
Talent for the Game Robert M. Young Paramount Pictures
Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead Stephen Herek HBO Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures
Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey Peter Hewitt Nelson Entertainment
Interscope Communications
Orion Pictures
Rover Dangerfield James L. George
Bob Seeley
Hyperion Pictures
Warner Bros. Pictures
Paradise Mary Agnes Donoghue Interscope Communications
Touchstone Pictures
Other People's Money Norman Jewison Warner Bros. Pictures
The Runestone Willard Carroll Hyperion Pictures
LIVE Entertainment
1992 Itsy Bitsy Spider Matthew O'Callaghan Hyperion Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Short film
Honeymoon in Vegas Andrew Bergman Castle Rock Entertainment
New Line Cinema
Columbia Pictures
The Mighty Ducks Stephen Herek Avnet-Kerner Productions
Walt Disney Pictures
That Night Craig Bolotin Le Studio Canal+
Regency Enterprises
Alcor Films
Warner Bros. Pictures
Hoffa Danny DeVito Le Studio Canal+
Jersey Films
20th Century Fox
1993 The Sandlot David Mickey Evans Island World
20th Century Fox
Coneheads Steve Barron NBC Films
Paramount Pictures
Undercover Blues Herbert Ross Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
1994 The Air Up There Paul Michael Glaser Nomura Babcock & Brown
Interscope Communications
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Hollywood Pictures
My Father the Hero Steve Miner Touchstone Pictures
The Flintstones Brian Levant Hanna-Barbera Productions
Amblin Entertainment
Universal Pictures
The Cowboy Way Gregg Champion Imagine Entertainment
Universal Pictures
I Love Trouble Charles Shyer Caravan Pictures
Touchstone Pictures
1995 Boys on the Side Herbert Ross Le Studio Canal+
Regency Enterprises
Warner Bros. Pictures
Tommy Boy Peter Segal Paramount Pictures
Operation Dumbo Drop Simon Wincer Interscope Communications
PolyGram Filmed Entertainment
Walt Disney Pictures
1996 Big Bully Steve Miner Morgan Creek Productions
Warner Bros. Pictures
The Phantom Simon Wincer The Ladd Company
Village Roadshow Pictures
Paramount Pictures
The Nutty Professor Tom Shadyac Imagine Entertainment
Universal Pictures
Matilda Danny DeVito Jersey Films
TriStar Pictures
Jingle All the Way Brian Levant 1492 Pictures
20th Century Fox
1997 Out to Sea Martha Coolidge Davis Entertainment
20th Century Fox
Anastasia Don Bluth
Gary Goldman
20th Century Fox
Fox Animation Studios
1999 Never Been Kissed Raja Gosnell Fox 2000 Pictures
Flower Films
20th Century Fox
Bowfinger Frank Oz Imagine Entertainment
Universal Pictures
Brokedown Palace Jonathan Kaplan 20th Century Fox
Galaxy Quest Dean Parisot DreamWorks Pictures


Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
2000 The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas Brian Levant Hanna-Barbera Productions
Amblin Entertainment
Universal Pictures
Nutty Professor II: The Klumps Peter Segal Imagine Entertainment
Universal Pictures
Duets Bruce Paltrow Hollywood Pictures
Bedazzled Harold Ramis Regency Enterprises
20th Century Fox
102 Dalmatians Kevin Lima Walt Disney Pictures
2001 The Flamingo Rising Martha Coolidge CBS
Hallmark Hall of Fame
Television film
Lost Soul David Mickey Evans Brocita Entertainment (S) Pte Ltd
Onetree Pictures
United International Pictures
Dr. Dolittle 2 Steve Carr Davis Entertainment
20th Century Fox
The Affair of the Necklace Charles Shyer Alcon Entertainment
Warner Bros. Pictures
2002 Ice Age Chris Wedge Blue Sky Studios
20th Century Fox Animation
20th Century Fox
Death to Smoochy Danny DeVito Jersey Films
Warner Bros. Pictures
Life or Something Like It Stephen Herek Regency Enterprises
Davis Entertainment
20th Century Fox
Scooby-Doo Raja Gosnell Atlas Entertainment
Warner Bros. Pictures
2003 How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Donald Petrie Paramount Pictures
Daddy Day Care Steve Carr Revolution Studios
Davis Entertainment
Columbia Pictures
Duplex Danny DeVito Flower Films
Red Hour Productions
Miramax Films
The Cat in the Hat Bo Welch Imagine Entertainment
Universal Pictures (North America)
DreamWorks Pictures (International)
Replaced Marc Shaiman
2004 Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed Raja Gosnell Warner Bros. Pictures
2005 Are We There Yet? Brian Levant Revolution Studios
Columbia Pictures
Man of the House Stephen Herek Bel Air Entertainment
Revolution Studios
Columbia Pictures
Monster-in-Law Robert Luketic Allied Stars Ltd
New Line Cinema
Serenity Joss Whedon Universal Pictures
2007 Norbit Brian Robbins Tollin/Robbins Productions
Davis Entertainment
DreamWorks Pictures
Paramount Pictures
2008 Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins Malcolm D. Lee Spyglass Entertainment
Universal Pictures
The Spirit Frank Miller OddLot Entertainment
2009 My Life in Ruins Donald Petrie Playtone
Echo Bridge Entertainment
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins Brian Levant Cartoon Network
Warner Premiere
Television film
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Betty Thomas Bagdasarian Productions
Dune Entertainment
Regency Enterprises
20th Century Fox


Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
2010 Crazy on the Outside Tim Allen Freestyle Releasing
The Spy Next Door Brian Levant Relativity Media
Animals United Reinhard Klooss
Holger Tappe
Ambient Entertainment
Constantin Film
Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster Brian Levant Atlas Entertainment
Warner Premiere
Television film
2011 Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son John Whitesell Regency Enterprises
20th Century Fox
2012 A Christmas Story 2 Brian Levant Warner Premiere
Warner Bros. Pictures
Direct-to-video film
2013 Tarzan Reinhard Klooss Ambient Entertainment
Constantin Film
2014 Behaving Badly Tim Garrick Vertical Entertainment
5 Flights Up Richard Loncraine Focus World
2016 Army of One Larry Charles Conde Nast Entertainment
Endgame Entertainment
Kasbah-Film Tanger
2017 Girls Trip Malcolm D. Lee Universal Pictures
Will Packer Productions
Naked Michael Tiddes Netflix
Wayans Alvarez Productions
2018 Night School Malcolm D. Lee Universal Pictures
2019 Pets United Reinhard Klooss Netflix


Year Title Director Studio(s) Notes
2021 West Side Story Steven Spielberg 20th Century Studios
Amblin Entertainment
As arranger and adapter.
Newman's first collaboration with Steven Spielberg.
Original themes and songs by Leonard Bernstein.
Fifth Spielberg film without his long-time collaborator, John Williams, since Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983), The Color Purple (1985), Bridge of Spies (2015) and Ready Player One (2018). Bridge of Spies was composed by Thomas Newman, David Newman's younger brother.


Year Title Creator Studio(s) Notes
2019-2022 Green Eggs and Ham Jared Stern Gulfstream Pictures
A Stern Talking To
A Very Good Production
Warner Bros. Animation
Television series
Newman's first score for an animated series


  1. ^ MacDonald, Laurence E. The Invisible Art of Film Music: A Comprehensive History, Scarecrow Press (2013)
  2. ^ Maurizio Caschetto, audio file interview with David Newman, April–May 2019, Legacy Conversations, available: www.thelegacyofjohnwilliams.com
  3. ^ "David Newman Elected President of The Film Music Society". The Film Music Society. 22 February 2007. Retrieved 4 August 2019.
  4. ^ "BMI Film & Television Awards Tout Composers of Year's Top Film, Television, & Cable Music". bmi.com. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 20 October 2010.
  5. ^ "Board of Directors". American Youth Symphony. Retrieved 4 August 2019.

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