Today in history was the first intersteller space flight, and though I am super into flying and space, Tim Burton's birthday is today, and he's also pretty out of this world! My Nana took me to a Tim Burton exhibition at the LACMA and it was one of the most incredible days of my whole life. The show was absolutely FANTASTIC! We spent far more time than most guests, but we absorbed each piece and talked about the drawing style and the juxtaposition of his simple yet deep sketches.
The exhibition had over 700 drawings, paintings, photographs, moving-image works, storyboards, puppets, concept artworks, maquettes, costumes, and cinematic ephemera, including art from a number of unrealized and little-known personal projects. Many of these objects come from the artist's own archive, as well as from studio archives and private collections of Burton's collaborators.
Two large-scale outdoor artworks were also installed: a topiary inspired by Edward Scissorhands, and Balloon Boy, an enormous figure based on an amalgamation of characters that Burton first introduced in his 1997 book The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories.
Timothy William Burton was born August 25, 1958, in Burbank, California. Burton became interested in drawing and filmmaking while quite young. He attended the California Institute of the Arts and later worked as an animator at Disney Productions. This job ended up in Burton being fired because he was wasting company time drawing things too scary for children. This allowed him full creativity and marked the beginning of his own film making.
After making a series of short films, including the horror-movie homage Frankenweenie (1984), Burton directed his first feature film, Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, in 1985. A box-office success, the family movie centered on a man-child (played by Paul Reubens) looking for his stolen bicycle. With the dark comedy Beetlejuice (1988), Burton established himself as an unconventional filmmaker. He turned to more mainstream fare with the big-budget Batman (1989) and its sequel Batman Returns (1992) with Michael Keaton. Both films were major hits. Burton was also responsible for the concept and general design of the stop-motion animation film The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), which was directed by Henry Selick.
Edward Scissorhands (1990) marked Burton’s first collaboration with actor Johnny Depp (my favorite!!). The two subsequently worked on such movies as Ed Wood (1994), a biopic about a cross-dressing filmmaker who was called the worst director ever; Sleepy Hollow (1999), which was based on Washington Irving’s story “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”; and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s book of the same name.
In 2001 Burton’s remake of the science-fiction classic The Planet of the Apes (1968) was released. During its filming, he had begun a romantic relationship with one of its stars, Helena Bonham Carter, and the two became longtime partners. After directing Big Fish (2003), he made Corpse Bride (2005), which was nominated for an Academy Award for best animated feature. The film featured voice work by Depp and Bonham Carter, both of whom subsequently reteamed with Burton on Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), based on Stephen Sondheim’s musical; Alice in Wonderland (2010), a special-effects-enhanced adaptation of the Lewis Carroll story; and Dark Shadows (2012), a comedic interpretation of a cult-favorite soap opera from the 1960s.
A feature-length stop-motion remake of Frankenweenie, directed by Burton, was released in 2012. Big Eyes (2014) told the true story of painter Margaret Keane, whose husband took credit for her work during the early part of her career. Burton next directed the adventure fantasy Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016), a film adaptation of the first book in a popular young adult series by Ransom Riggs. In 2019 he received mixed reviews for Dumbo, a live-action remake of the 1941 Disney classic.
Happy 72nd birthday, Mr. Burton. You are an inspiration and a trail-blazer loved by many!