Hans Florian Zimmer is a German film score composer and record producer. His works are notable for integrating electronic music sounds with traditional orchestral arrangements. Since the 1980s, Zimmer has composed music for over 150 films. His works include The Lion King (for which he won the Academy Award for Best Original Score in 1995), Crimson Tide, Gladiator, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception, Interstellar, Dunkirk, Blade Runner 2049, and Dune. He has received four Grammy Awards, three Classical BRIT Awards, two Golden Globes, and an Academy Award. He was also named on the list of Top 100 Living Geniuses, published by The Daily Telegraph.
Zimmer spent the early part of his career in the United Kingdom before moving to the United States. He is the head of the film music division at DreamWorks studios and works with other composers through the company that he founded, Remote Control Productions, formerly known as Media Ventures. His studio in Santa Monica, California has an extensive range of computer equipment and keyboards, allowing demo versions of film scores to be created quickly.
Zimmer was born in Frankfurt, West Germany. As a young child, he lived in Königstein-Falkenstein, where he played the piano at home but had piano lessons only briefly, as he disliked the discipline of formal lessons. In one of his Reddit AMAs, he said: "My formal training was two weeks of piano lessons. I was thrown out of eight schools. But I joined a band. I am self-taught. But I've always heard music in my head. And I'm a child of the 20th century; computers came in very handy." Zimmer attended the Ecole D'Humanité, an international boarding school in Canton Bern, Switzerland. He moved to London as a teenager, where he attended Hurtwood House school. During his childhood, he was strongly influenced by the film scores of Ennio Morricone and has cited Once Upon a Time in the West as the score that inspired him to become a film composer.
In a speech at the 1999 Berlin Film Festival, Zimmer stated that he is Jewish, and talked about his mother surviving World War II thanks to her escape from Germany to England in 1939. In an interview with Mashable in February 2013, he said of his parents: "My mother was very musical, basically a musician and my father was an engineer and an inventor. So I grew up modifying the piano, shall we say, which made my mother gasp in horror, and my father would think it was fantastic when I would attach chainsaws and stuff like that to the piano because he thought it was an evolution in technology." In an interview with the German television station ZDF in 2006, he commented: "My father died when I was just a child, and I escaped somehow into the music and music has been my best friend."
Zimmer's first wife was model Vicki Carolin, with whom he has a daughter. The couple divorced in 1992. On 3 April 2020, Zimmer filed for divorce from his second wife Suzanne Zimmer, with whom he has three children.
In an interview in May 2014, Zimmer revealed that it was difficult growing up in post-War Germany being Jewish and said, "I think my parents were always wary of me telling the neighbors" that they were Jewish.
Awards and honors
Zimmer has received a range of honors and awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award in film Composition from the National Board of Review, the Frederick Loewe Award in 2003 at the Palm Springs International Film Festival, ASCAP's Henry Mancini Award for Lifetime Achievement, and BMI's Richard Kirk Award for lifetime achievement in 1996.
In December 2010, Zimmer received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He dedicated the award to his publicist and long-term friend Ronni Chasen, who had been shot and killed in Beverly Hills the previous month.
In 2016, Zimmer was one of the inaugural winners of the Stephen Hawking Medal for Science Communication.
In November 2017, a main-belt asteroid (495253) 2013 OC8 discovered by Polish astronomers Michal Kusiak and Michal Zolnowski was named Hanszimmer.
As of 2018, Zimmer had received eleven Academy Award nominations for his work, with a win at the 67th Academy Awards for the 1994 film The Lion King.
On 2 October 2018, Zimmer received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany.
In 2019, Zimmer was inducted as a Disney Legend.