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Alan Irwin Menken is an American film and musical theater composer and pianist.

For Disney, he composed music for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Home on the Range, Enchanted, and Tangled. He has worked with lyricists Howard Ashman, Sir Tim Rice, Stephen Schwartz, David Zippel, and Glenn Slater.

In 2001, he and his musical partner, Howard Ashman were named Disney Legends, and their plaques are presented together on the same post at the Team—Disney Michael D. Eisner Building.

He is currently the only living person with the highest number of Academy Awards (four each for Best Original Score and Best Original Song). He has the third most Oscars of all time. Only Alfred Newman (9 wins) and Walt Disney (22 wins) have received more than him. He is tied with late costume designer Edith Head for the third most Oscar wins.

He has written songs outside of Disney, his most notable work being the 1982 musical, Little Shop of Horrors, which was adapted into a film by Frank Oz in 1986. The song "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space" earned him and Ashman their first Oscar nomination.

On July 26, 2020, Menken became the 16th person to achieve EGOT status, winning the Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Original Song (Children's/Young Adult/Animation) for the song "Waiting in the Wings" from Rapunzel's Tangled Adventure.

Feature Film Filmography

Year Film Position Subsidiary
1989 The Little Mermaid Songs/Original Score Walt Disney Animation Studios
1991 Beauty and the Beast
1992 Newsies Original Songs: Music Walt Disney Pictures
Aladdin Original Score/Songs Walt Disney Animation Studios
1995 Pocahontas Songs: Music/Original Score
1996 The Hunchback of Notre Dame
1996 Aladdin and the King of Thieves Song: "Arabian Nights"
1997 Hercules Original Score/Songs
2004 Home on the Range Original Score Composed/Original Songs: Music
2006 The Shaggy Dog Music Walt Disney Pictures
2007 Enchanted Songs/Score
2010 Tangled Original Score Composed/Original Songs: Music Walt Disney Animation Studios
2011 Captain America: The First Avenger Song: "Star Spangled Man" Marvel Studios
2017 Beauty and the Beast Songs: Music/Score Walt Disney Pictures
2017 Tangled: Before Ever After Song: "Wind in My Hair" Disney Television Animation
2018 Ralph Breaks the Internet Song: "A Place Called Slaughter Race" Walt Disney Animation Studios
2019 Aladdin Songs: Music/Score Walt Disney Pictures

Early Years

Alan Menken was born on July 22, 1949 in New Rochelle, New York. From his early years, his parents described Alan as a "Lover of Music". He even used to fake conduct to recordings of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, etc. When the time came for him to attend college, he attended New York University, studying pre-med, but later changing his focus to music. His first professional work, with Howard Ashman, was 1979 WPA theatre of God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater. Three years later, he received huge success with the 1982 off-Broadway production of Little Shop of Horrors, again with Ashman, in which he received a Drama Desk nomination. Little Shop of Horrors was made into a motion picture and received a Broadway run. Alan Menken also received his first Oscar nomination with "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space".

Perhaps Alan Menken is best known for his work with Walt Disney Pictures. During his time with the company, he received 18 Academy Award nominations and 16 Golden Globe nominations. He is seen as one of the key players in the Disney Renaissance, and is one of the two people to receive three musical nominations in the same year (Academy Awards). Doing so once for Enchanted, and once for Beauty and the Beast.


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