He composed music for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, Home on the Range, Enchanted, and Tangled. He has worked with lyricists Howard Ashman (1950-1991), Tim Rice, Stephen Schwartz, David Zippel and Glenn Slater.
He is currently the only living person with the most number of Academy Awards (four each for Best Original Score and Best Original Song). He has the third most Oscars of all time. Only Alfred Newman (Nine wins, uncle of Randy Newman) and Walt Disney (22 wins) have received more than him. He is tied with late costume designer Edith Head for the third most Oscar wins.
Alan Menken was born on July 22, 1949 in New Rochelle, New York. From his early years his parents described Alan as a "Lover of Music". He even used to fake conduct to recordings of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, etc. When the time came for him to attend college he attended New York University, studying pre-med but later changing his focus to music. His first professional work, with Howard Ashman, was 1979 WPA theatre of "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater". Three years later, he received huge success with the 1982 off-Broadway production of " Little Shop of Horrors", again with Ashman, in which he received a Drama Desk nomination. "Little Shop of Horrors" was made into a motion picture and received a Broadway run. Alan Menken also received his first Oscar nomination with "Mean Green Mother from Outer Space".
Perhaps Alan Menken is best known for his work with Walt Disney Pictures. During his time with the film company, he received 18 Academy Award nominations and 16 Golden Globe nominations. He is seen as one of the key players in the Disney Renaissance. Also, he is one of the two people to receive three musical nominations in the same year (Academy Awards). Doing so once for Enchanted, and once for Beauty and the Beast.