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Composer Shirley Walker, who wrote prolifically for film and TV, died Wednesday of complications following a stroke in Reno, Nev. She was 61.
Walker had recently completed work on the feature “Black Christmas” and had scored all three of the “Final Destination” horror series. She won a Daytime Emmy for her work on the animated “Batman” series.
It is believed Walker was the first woman to receive sole composing credit on a Hollywood studio picture, on “Memoirs of an Invisible Woman” in 1992.
According to fellow composer and friend Laura Karpman, Walker was among the few female composers who managed to make her mark in the highly competitive world of Hollywood scoring.
“She’s one of a tiny little group, and was the first one to poke through,” Karpman said. “She’s been an incredible mentor to a lot of men and women in Hollywood. She was an important role model.”
Before beginning her film career, Walker was a piano soloist with the San Francisco Symphony. Her first credit was as a synthesizer player on Francis Ford Coppola’s “Apocalypse Now.” She went on to work as a conductor and orchestrator for Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer, working on such features as “Scrooged,” “Batman,” “Dick Tracy” and “Edward Scissorhands.”
Walker bowed as a composer on the 1982 feature “The End of August.” She wrote robust themes for action and superhero series, including “Batman Beyond,” “The New Batman Adventures,” “Spawn” and “Superman.” In 1996, she scored John Carpenter’s futuristic action film “Escape From L.A.”
She is survived by son Ian and Colin Walker.
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