Richard Elfman

Richard Elfman
Born (1949-03-06) March 6, 1949
Los Angeles, California
Other names "Aristide Sumatra" (alternate acting/directing name)
Occupation Film actor
Film director
Film producer
Magazine publisher
Years active 1972-present
Spouse(s) Marie-Pascale Elfman
- (1969 - 1979)
Lauren Elfman
- (2008-2011)
Anastasia Elfman (2014 to present)
Children Bodhi Elfman
Louis Elfman

Richard "Rick" Elfman (born March 6, 1949 in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles, California) is an American film actor, director, producer, screenwriter, author, and magazine publisher.

He is the son of novelist Blossom Elfman and the brother of composer Danny Elfman.


Richard is the son of novelist Blossom Elfman (aka "Clare Elfman"), and the older brother of musician and film composer Danny Elfman, with whom he founded Oingo Boingo, an eclectic band popular in the 1980s and 1990s. Richard is brother-in-law of Danny's wife, Bridget Fonda, father of Bodhi Elfman and Louis Elfman, father-in-law of Bodhi's wife, Jenna Elfman, and father and business partner in Buzzine Networks with son Louis Elfman. Richard currently resides in the Hollywood Hills. He is Jewish.[1]



Elfman was a member of Jérôme Savary's musical theatre company, Le Grand Magic Circus, in Paris.[2][3]

Richard acted in and directed the L.A. Drama Critics Award winning stage production of Igor Stravinski's L'Histoire du Soldat (History of a Soldier).[4]


Elfman formed the musical theatre troupe known as The Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo in 1972.[3][5] The group was inspired by Richard's time in Paris with Le Grand Magic Circus.[3] Richard's wife, Marie-Pascale, high school friend Gene Cunningham and brother Danny helped Richard found the group.[6] Original performances of the group consisted of upward of 15 musicians, often dressed in garish clown makeup, performing classics from the 1920s, 30s and 40s, as well as avant-garde originals by Danny Elfman. The band appeared on The Gong Show as well as in the 1977 movie I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Richard left the group in 1979 to pursue filmmaking, leaving Danny as music director. Danny eventually changed the theatrical nature of the band into a steady 8 piece touring act that became Oingo Boingo.


Elfman's first directing project was the cult film[7] Forbidden Zone released in 1980.[8] It was a black and white film version of the theatrical show, starring band members and friends, including Danny singing a modified version of Cab Calloway's Minnie the Moocher as Satan with lyrics modified for the plot.[8] Richard also appears in the film singing "The Yiddishe Charleston" from the 1920s.

Forbidden Zone had its New York color premiere March 20, 2010 at the Museum of Modern Art, in conjunction with the Tim Burton exhibition.[9]

Forbidden Zone: Live in the 6th Dimension was adapted as a stage musical, running at the Sacred Fools Theater Company in Los Angeles in May and June 2010.[10]

Elfman also made Shrunken Heads (1994; some footage and scenery from this film was later reused for the best effects sequences in the film Zarkorr! The Invader)[11] and Modern Vampires (1998).[12][13] Elfman said in a 2009 interview that he has also done pseudonymous film work under names such as "Aristide Sumatra" and "Mahatma Kane Sumatra".[13]

Mixed media

Rocky Horror Picture Show "shadow cast" companies have begun performing screenings of Elfman’s cult film, Forbidden Zone. Elfman sometimes participates doing characters in these live performances. He enters in a clown suit beating a big bass drum and accompanied by a Brazilian percussion ensemble—reminiscent of his former group, the Mystic Knights of the Oingo Boingo.[14][15]

The Syfy Channel has run a teaser piece musical number,[16] “Princess Polly” from Forbidden Zone 2: The Forbidden Galaxy on its show Monster Man, starring Cleve Hall.[17] Elfman opens the Forbidden Zone shadow cast shows (after the march in) with Erin Holt singing Princess Polly live in front of her screened “monster” image on stage.[18]



  1. "About Danny Elfman and the Mystic Knights of the Oingo". MTV. Retrieved 2013-05-07.
  2. "Oingo Boingo". Variety. April 7, 1975.
  3. 1 2 3 Clark, Rick (May 2001). "Danny Elfman". Mix. Retrieved 5 July 2010.
  4. FOG!. "FOG! Chats with RICHARD ELFMAN About His Indiegogo For Forbidden Zone 2!!!".
  5. Tim Burton; Ron Magliozzi; Jenny He (2009). Tim Burton (illustrated ed.). The Museum of Modern Art. p. 15. ISBN 0-87070-760-4.
  6. Sullivan, Dan (March 26, 1975). "Going Back to Bedlam". Los Angeles Times.
  7. Beck, Jerry. The animated movie guide, Chicago Review Press, p. 273, ISBN 978-1-55652-591-9
  8. 1 2 Puchalski, Steven. Slimetime: a guide to sleazy, mindless movies. Headpress 2002, p. 113, ISBN 978-1-900486-21-7
  9. "Tim Burton Sidebar: Waking Sleeping Beauty and Forbidden Zone". Museum of Modern Art. 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  10. "Forbidden Zone: Live in the 6th Dimension". Sacred Fools Theater Company. 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  11. Mitchell, Charles P. A guide to apocalyptic cinema, Greenwood Publishing Group 2001, p. 267, ISBN 978-0-313-31527-5
  12. "Capsule Reviews", Fort Worth Star-Telegram 1999-10-08
  13. 1 2 McDermot, Hal (2009-07-27). "Our LA limey interviews Richard Elfman in ze FORBIDDEN ZONE!", Retrieved 2010-07-06.
  14. Vega, Priscella. "Fans Got Lost At the "Forbidden Zone" Shadow Cast Screening in Long Beach's Art Theatre". OCWeekly. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  15. Wolff, Sander Roscoe. "Richard Elfman's Forbidden Zone Friday". Long Beach Post. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
  16. "FORBIDDEN ZONE 2: The Forbidden Galaxy! Erin Holt as the horny/horrible Princess Polly". BuzzineNetworks. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
  17. "Forbidden Werewolf".
  18. Vega, Priscella. "Richard Elfman Talks Forbidden Zone, to Screen this Week at Long Beach Cinematheque!". OCWeekly. Retrieved 19 June 2012.
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