b. 20 October 1955, Los Angeles, California, USA. Newman was born into an intensely musical family; his father was film composer Alfred Newman, among his uncles was Lionel Newman, another film composer, his siblings include David Newman, who also writes music for films, and a cousin is singer-songwriter Randy Newman. His mother, Martha Montgomery Newman, was a former ‘Samuel Goldwyn girl’ whose second husband was composer Robert O. Ragland.
Newman studied at the University of Southern California, where his tutors included Frederick Lesemann and David Raskin, and at Yale. Although an early composition was ‘Three Mean Fairy Tales’, a work for musical theatre, his principal career has been in Hollywood, where he has composed music for films. Among the almost 100 films he has scored are, in the 80s, Summer’s End and Reckless (both 1984), Desperately Seeking Susan and Real Genius (both 1985), Jumpin’ Jack Flash (1986), The Lost Boys (1987) and Cookie (1989). In the 90s he scored Heat Wave (1990), Fried Green Tomatoes (1991), Scent Of A Woman (1992), Little Women and The Shawshank Redemption (both 1994), the last two Oscar-nominated, Unstrung Heroes (1995), Up Close & Personal, American Buffalo and The People Vs. Larry Flynt (all 1996), The Horse Whisperer (1998), The Green Mile and American Beauty (both 1999), the latter nominated for an Oscar. Among his 00s films are Erin Brockovich (2000), Road To Perdition (2002), Finding Nemo (2003), Jarhead and Cinderella Man (both 2005), The Good German and Little Children (both 2006).
Newman’s television work includes The Paper Chase (1978) and Angels In America (2003) as well as the main title themes from Boston Public (2000) and Six Feet Under (2001), the latter winning an Emmy Award for Outstanding Main Theme Music. Aside from his film work, Newman has also composed experimental music, including ‘Tokyo 77’, released on In Tone Records. Many of his film scores are available on CD.