If you read about Tim Burton’s background as a child and teenager, you would know that he enjoyed that certain kind of weirdness and darkness, and later on, these would describe what he could offer as a storyteller. He preferred doing things on his own, watching his favorite classic horror and expressionist movies, and making his own short films. Inside his own shell, the introvert Burton expressed himself through his own stories and drawings.
Who would have thought that this inward-looking and quite withdrawn young artist would become one of the most famous Hollywood director of his time? What he had was the will and determination to struggle for what he wanted and what he knew he could do. And of course, he did all these through his undeniably distinctive talents as a visual artist, a skilled writer, and a visionary director.
His Early Path
Burton’s artistic talent landed him a Disney scholarship to study animation at the California Institute of Arts (CalArts). After honing his skills for motion picture and TV production work, with focus on the field of animation, he was hired in one of the most prestigious movie studios in Hollywood as a young animator who just graduated from CalArts. His stay at Disney provided him resources to make his personal film projects. However, his professional work didn’t turn out well as his dark, sometimes morbid, and sometimes queer style and interests didn’t embody the “Disney look.”
After leaving Disney to search for his path towards his own identity as an artist, he got his first directing gig for a feature film through a bootleg tape of a short film that was never taken by any studio for release. In no time, he made a film in the top-ten highest grossing movies of all time. Not too long, he started getting big Hollywood projects and his natural talent, fantastic imagination, and well-defined style became his trademark as a filmmaker.
His Personal Life
The Burbank-born Burton married German artist Lena Gieseke in 1989 in the middle of the production of Batman. The relationship didn’t turn out well as they separated shortly after the filming of Batman Returns. Back then, he began dating model-actress Lisa Marie who appeared in four of his films including Ed Wood, Mars Attacks!, Sleepy Hollow, and Planet of the Apes. Although already engaged, the couple split in 2001. Their awful separation led to Marie auctioning Burton’s personal belongings. Burton’s down moments continued as his parents died during the same period.
Burton’s next project was Big Fish, an adaptation of the novel by Daniel Wallace. Looking most passionate, emotional, and personal for Burton, this film revolved around the story of a man trying to reconnect with his dying father. A classic filmmaking feat, Big Fish earned respectable reviews and enjoyed box office success.
Shortly after the making of Planet of the Apes, he began dating one of his actresses for the film, Helena Bonham Carter. As long-time partners both inside and outside the film set, Burton and Carter were bestowed with two children: Billy Ray born in 2003 and Nell born in 2007. His close friend Johnny Depp is Billy Ray’s godfather.
His Other Works
Aside from his filmmaking credits, he published a poetry book entitled The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy and Other Stories. This book where he served as both writer and illustrator was released in 1997. This was his inspiration for his animated short film The World of Stainboy. From 2009 to 2010, he also published a compilation of his drawings entitled The Art of Tim Burton.
He also had a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York where he featured over 700 drawings. Apart form his motion picture works, his exhibition included materials from his amateur and student films, commercials, music videos, and a number of digital slideshows. After MoMA, his exhibition moved to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne, featuring additional materials from his latest film during the time of the exhibition, Alice in Wonderland.
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“Tim Burton Biography,” Star Pulse.
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“Biography for Tim Burton,” IMDb.
“Biography,” The Tim Burton Collective.
Tim Burton Biography:
Tim Burton Biography: From His Early Years to His Early Career as a Filmmaker
Tim Burton Biography: From His Early Career to His Rise to Hollywood Fame as an A-list Director
Tim Burton Filmography:
Tim Burton Filmography: His Early Works as a Filmmaker (1971 to 1990)
Tim Burton Filmography: His Films from 1992 to 2000
Tim Burton Filmography: His Films from 2001 to 2010