John Debney

Last updated 09 January 2020

John Debney
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John C. Debney

Born: Saturday 18th August 1956 (age: 65)

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John Debney is an American film composer. He received an Academy Award nomination for his score for Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ. He also composed the score for Cutthroat Island, which has been celebrated by music critics as a notable example of swashbuckling film music.

The son of Disney Studios producer Louis Debney (ZorroThe Mickey Mouse Club), John was born and raised in nearby Glendale, California, where he began guitar lessons at age six and played in rock bands in college. Debney earned his B.A. degree in Music Composition from the California Institute of Arts in 1979. Two weeks after graduating from CalArts, he got a job at copying department at Disney. One day, Buddy Baker saw him and had him arrange music that would later be used for different pavilions and rides at epcot (at Disney World in Florida). After three years at Disney, he freelanced for television composer Mike Post. Debney furthered his hands-on training by working with Hanna-Barbera composer Hoyt Curtin. After this, Debney went on to score television projects as diverse as Star Trek: The Next GenerationStar Trek: Deep Space NineSeaQuest DSVA Pup Named Scooby-DooThe Further Adventures of SuperTedDoctor Who and Dink, the Little Dinosaur, for which he won an Emmy for Best Main Title. In the early 1990s, Debney began to score indie films and Disneyland attractions. In 1991, Debney composed the music for Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris. In 1993, he scored his first studio feature, the Disney comedy Hocus Pocus starring Bette Midler.

Debney has since gone on to have a career composing scores for many films including: Iron Man 2The Passion of the ChristBruce AlmightyI Know What You Did Last SummerElfSin CityChicken LittleLiar LiarSpy KidsThe Emperor's New GrooveThe Scorpion KingThe Princess Diaries and Predators.

Debney has also recorded scores for the video games Lair and The Sims Medieval. In 2010, he composed the theme music for the Nickelodeon television series Supah Ninjas.