Tim Burton Biography

Tim Burton is a talented director and filmmaker and has made films fantasy and horror genres. This biography provides detailed information about his childhood, life, career, achievements and timeline.

Tim Burton
Quick Facts

Birthday: August 25, 1958

Nationality: American

Famous: Quotes By Tim Burton Directors

Age: 61 Years, 61 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Virgo

Also Known As: Tim

Born in: Burbank, California, U.S.

Famous as: Film Director, Producer, Writer, Artist

Height: 6'0" (183 cm), 6'0" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Lena Gieseke, Helena Bonham Carter, Lisa Marie (1993–2001)

father: Bill Burton

mother: Jean Burton

children: Billy Raymond, Nell Raymond

Personality: INFP

Diseases & Disabilities: Asperger's Syndrome, Autism

U.S. State: California

More Facts

education: Burbank High School, California Institute of the Arts

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It is true that talent and innovativeness can set any man’s career soaring high and Tim Burton is no less. Blessed with a great acumen for imaginativeness coupled with excellent drawing skills, Burton soon converted his passion and hobby into his career and had no looking back since then. A graduate of California Institute of Arts, he started his career by taking up the position of an apprentice animator at the Walt Disney studios. However, this was just the beginning of his super illustrious career as he set forth to make a mark as a director, producer, writer, poet and stop motion artist in the American film industry. In his four decades of career, he came up with dark, gothic, macabre and quirky horror and fantasy films. Adding to the dark gothic setup is the effective use of musical interludes which is prominently seen in almost all his films. Most of his films focuses around a misunderstood outcast and include characters who distrust the protagonist. As of 2012, he has directed 16 films and produced 12 films. Some of his super successful films include ‘Pee-wee's Big Adventure’, ‘Batman’, ‘Batman Returns’, ‘Planet of the Apes’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

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Tim Burton
Childhood & Early Life
  • Tim Burton was born to Jean Burton and Bill Burton in the city of Burbank. His mother was the owner of a cat-themed gift shop, while his father, a former minor league baseball player, worked for the Burbank Park and Recreation Department.
  • He attained his preliminary education from Burbank High School. An average student, he did not have much interest in the regular curriculum and instead had an affinity towards painting, drawing and watching films.
  • A prodigious child, he took to filmmaking since his pre-teen years. He often indulged in shooting short films using the crude stop motion animation techniques. His oldest surviving film is The Island of Doctor Agnor, which was made when he was 13.
  • Completing his education from Burbank High School, he enrolled at the California Institute of Arts to take up a course in character animation. It was while studying here that he made films like, ‘Stalk of the celery Monster’ and ‘King and Octopus’. He graduated from the institute in 1979.
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  • He started off his career by working as an apprentice animator at the Walt Disney Studios. However, his stay at the studio was short lived due to the creative differences that he had.
  • During his time at Disney, he embarked on his solo career and made a short film, Vincent, which was showcased at the Chicago Film Festival. The film met with huge positive response and fetched him an award too.
  • He followed this by coming up with his first live-action production ‘Hansel and Gretel’. In 1984, he released his next live-action short film, ‘Frankenweenie’. The year also marked his last term of service with the Disney.
  • The success of his first two short films led him to direct the cinematic sequel of his popular character Pee-wee Herman. The film was titled, ‘Pee-wee's Big Adventure’. It also witnessed the very first collaboration of him and songwriter Danny Elfman which propelled for years.
  • ‘Pee-wee's Big Adventure’ was highly successful and provided him an opportunity to direct several more films during the decade including, ‘Bettlejuice’ and ‘Batman’. Both the films were huge hits and established his reputation as a top-notch director. ‘Batman’ became one of the biggest box office hits of all time.
  • Banking on the success league, he started the 1990 decade with the successful film, ‘Edward Scissorhands’. The movie, immensely successful one, is rated by critics as his best movie till date amongst the rest.
  • He followed the super-successful ‘Batman’ film by coming up with its sequel ‘Batman Returns’ in 1992. The movie was a darker adaptation of the former film and was centred more on the villains than the superhero. However, it garnered the same positive response from both the audience and the critics.
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  • In 1993, he penned and produced the film, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, an animated musical. The film was widely appreciated by the critics and the audience and went on to gain commercial and critical success.
  • In 1994, he came up with two more films, ‘Cabin Boy’ and ‘Ed Wood’. Both the films were widely panned by the audience and were commercial failures. The only saving grace was the critics’ appreciation of ‘Ed Wood’.
  • In 1994, he started producing the next film of the Batman franchise, titled ‘Batman Forever’. Directed by Joel Schumacher, the film was a blockbuster hit, earning more than $336 million at the box office
  • After the zooming success of his latest film from the ‘Batman’ franchise, he reunited with Selick to serve as the producer for the Selick directed flick, ‘James and the Giant Peach’. The film was well received critically.
  • He ended the 1990s decade with three more films, ‘Mars Attacks!’, ‘Superman Lives’ and ‘Sleepy Hollow’. While ‘Mars Attacks!’ bombed at the box office, ‘Sleepy Hollow’ which was an adaptation of the Washington Irving tale of ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ went on to receive average reviews from the public.
  • In the new millennium, he came up with his next project, ‘Planet of the Apes’. The film was a commercial success, despite receiving mixed response from the audience and the critics alike.
  • He followed this up with the film Big Fish, which was based on the novel of the same name. The film was a major success both commercially and critically. It went on to receive four Golden Globe nominations as well as an Academy Award nomination.
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  • In 2005, he came up with ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Corpse Bride’. While the former earned $207 million at the box office and was nominated in the category of best Costume Design in Academy Awards, the latter was his first full length stop motion film as director.
  • He ended the decade with three films ‘Bones’, ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ and ‘9’ in 2006, 2007 and 2009 respectively. ‘Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street’ and ‘9’ were widely appreciated and went on to receive several nominations and awards at the prestigious awards ceremonies such as Academy Awards, Golden Globe awards and so on.
  • In 2010, he came up with the film, ‘Alice in Wonderland’, which went on to receive two Academy Awards, for Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design. He followed this up with ‘Dark Shadows’ which received mixed reviews from the critics for both its plot and performance by the actors.
  • He served as the co-producer of the film, ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’, which released in 2012. The film was based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith. It opened to mixed response from the public. The same year, he came up with the film ‘Frankenweenie’, which was a remake of his 1984 short film into a feature-length stop motion film.
  • His future projects include the films, ‘Big Eyes’, ‘Monsterpocalypse’ and ‘Deep’. He is reportedly also working on a sequel of ‘Bettlejuice’ along with novelist Seth Graham-Smith. Furthermore, he is said to direct an adaptation of Ransom Riggs' book ‘Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children’.
Awards & Achievements
  • In 2007, he was honoured with the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement Award at the 64th Venice International Film Festival.
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  • In 2008 he was honoured with the Scream Immortal Award, for his unique interpretation of horror and fantasy.
  • He served as the President of the Jury for the 63rd annual Cannes Film Festival, held from May 12 to 24, 2010 in Cannes, France.
  • In 2010, he received the insignia of Chevalier of Arts and Letters from then-Minister of Culture Fr�d�ric Mitterrand.
  • In his almost four decades long career, he has won many prestigious awards including the Emmy Award, Golden Globe Awards, National Board of Review Awards and Producers Guild of America Awards.
Personal Life & Legacy
  • He tied the nuptial knot with Lena Gieseke, a Germany born artist. However, the marriage did not work out and he left her to be in a live-in relationship with Lisa Marie.
  • He was next involved romantically with actress Helena Bonham Carter. The two have been blessed with a son and daughter
  • This American film director of the ‘Batman’ and ‘Batman Returns’ fame has a phobia of chimpanzees.

1. 1997 (1974)


2. The Muppet Movie (1979)

  (Musical, Family, Comedy, Adventure)

3. Big Fish (2003)

  (Romance, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy)

4. Edward Scissorhands (1990)

  (Romance, Fantasy, Drama)

5. Ed Wood (1994)

  (Biography, Comedy, Drama)

6. Frankenweenie (1984)

  (Sci-Fi, Drama, Comedy, Short)

7. Batman (1989)

  (Action, Adventure)

8. Beetlejuice (1988)

  (Fantasy, Comedy)

See the events in life of Tim Burton in Chronological Order

How To Cite

Article Title
- Tim Burton Biography
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
- TheFamousPeople.com
Last Updated
- November 29, 2016

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