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Cartoon Composer Shirley Walker Dies

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Cartoon Composer Shirley Walker Dies

Film and television composer Shirley Walker died Wednesday from complications associated with a stroke at the age of 61. She was perhaps best known for scoring episodes of the popular 1990s Warner Bros. Animation shows Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Animated Series, The New Batman Adventures and Batman Beyond, as well as Todd McFarlane’s animated Spawn series. Other credits include the much-loved 1993 animated feature film Batman: Mask of the Phantasm and 1998’s The Batman/Superman Movie, as well as the live-action Final Destination movies. Walker’s next project was to be Bruce Timm’s DC: The New Frontier, a direct-to-video comic book-based feature which is currently in pre-production.

Walker worked with leading film composer Danny Elfman on a number of projects, serving as orchestrator and conductor on Scrooged (1988), Tim Burton’s Batman (1989), Clive Barker’s Nightbreed (1990), Dick Tracy (1990), Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Article 99 (1992). She also collaborated with Hans Zimmer on several films including Backdraft (1991), Toys (1992), True Lies (1994) and Johnny Mnemonic (1995).

Born in Napa, Calif., Walker began her career in industrial films and jingles work in the late 1960s and later worked as a musician on Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now. In the 1980s, she found work as a composer on such television series as Falcon Crest and China Beach, and lent her talents to such B-movie classics as 1985’s The Dungeonmaster and Ghoulies. Walker would find a comfortable niche in the superhero genre. In addition to working on the Warner Bros. cartoon series and live-action Batman films, she scored episodes of Warner Bros.’ 1990 television series The Flash, based on the DC Comics property.

Walker had been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1994 and also served the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the American Society of Composers, Authors & Publishers and a number of other professional organizations. She is survived by two sons.

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