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, 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 most 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
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 film 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. Also, he 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.