John Debney is the ultimate film music character actor. In equal demand for family films like Elf as he is for adventure films like Iron Man 2, the Oscar®-nominated composer also scored the poignantly brutal The Passion of the Christ. Debney is an agile jack-of-all-genres, composing for comedies (Bruce Almighty), sci-fi action (Predators), horror (Dream House), and romance (Valentine’s Day) with the same confidence and panache. He is also known for his work in such films as Princess Diaries, Sin City, Liar Liar, Spy Kids, No Strings Attached, The Emperor’s New Groove, I Know What You Did Last Summer, and Hocus Pocus. Debney’s work includes The Jungle Book, Ice Age: Collision Course, the award-winning musical The Greatest Showman, and the action thriller Beirut. Most recent for Debney is The Beach Bum, the comedy feature Isn’t It Romantic, and the upcoming family adventure feature Dora the Explorer.
Born in Glendale, California, Debney’s professional life began after he studied composition at the California Institute of the Arts, when he went to work writing music and orchestrating for Disney Studios and various television series. He won his first Emmy® in 1990 for the main theme for The Young Riders, and his career soon hit a gallop. Since then he has won three more Emmys®, and has been nominated for a total of six. His foray into videogame scoring – 2007’s Lair – resulted in a BAFTA nomination and a Best Videogame Score award from The International Film Music Critics Association.
Debney has collaborated with acclaimed directors as diverse as Robert Rodriguez, Garry Marshall, Mel Gibson, the Farrelly Brothers, Jon Favreau, Jim Sheridan, Ivan Reitman, Peter Chelsom, Rob Cohen, Brian Robbins, Tom Shadyac, Sam Raimi, Adam Shankman, Howie Deutch, Renny Harlin, Peter Hyams, and Kenny Ortega. He was nominated by the Academy for his Passion of the Christ score, and in 2005 was the youngest recipient of ASCAP’s Henry Mancini Career Achievement Award.