As the Barrymores are to acting, the Newmans are to composing, so it was no surprise when Thomas Newman decided to follow the family footsteps and become a film scorist, too. Still, it must have taken considerable courage, for his father, Alfred Newman, is one of cinema's greatest composers. His uncles, Emil Newman and Lionel Newman, are also highly regarded, and his cousin is quirky pop icon/composer Randy Newman. Even his brother, David Newman, is involved with music. But if anyone was up to the challenges presented by his family reputation, it has been Thomas Newman and he has become a prolific and highly respected composer in his own right. In 1994, he was twice nominated for the Oscar, one for Little Women and the other for The War. He was born and raised in Los Angeles. He launched his music career following studies at the University of Southern California and Yale, gaining experience with several bands. In 1984, he contributed his first few songs for the features Reckless and Revenge of the Nerds and wrote his first full-fledged score for Grandview, U.S.A. (all 1984). Newman has often worked with producer/director Jon Avnet, on such films as Fried Green Tomatoes (1992). A double Oscar nominee in 1995 for his work on Little Women and The Shawshank Redemption, Newman was subsequently nominated for his scores to Unstrung Heroes (1995), American Beauty (2000) and The Road to Perdition (2002).