Adulting on the Spectrum: John Frizzell, famous Hollywood composer, makes his autism diagnosis public

Hosts, Eileen Lamb and Andrew Komarow speak with famous Hollywood composer, John Frizzell, about his autism diagnosis.

HMMA Award-winning composer John Frizzell, born in New York City, began his music career early, singing in the chorus of the Paris Opera Company and the Metropolitan Opera Company. As a teenager, he played guitar in rock bands and later became focused on jazz - a passion that led him to pursue a formal musical education at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music as well as the Manhattan School of Music. It was during his college years that Frizzell met his mentor, guitar legend Joe Pass.

Through Pass, Frizzell discovered his calling as a composer.Early in John Frizzell’s career, he collaborated with renowned composers as an orchestrator or co-composer including Ryuichi Sakamoto (Wild Palms), and James Newton Howard (Dante’s Peak). His composing career would flourish, and he would score for leading filmmakers on iconic films including Jean-Pierre Jeunet (Alien: Resurrection), Joel Silver (Thirt13en Ghosts and Ghost Ship), Danny Cannon(I Still Know What You Did Last Summer), and Mark Rydell (James Dean and Crime of the Century).

However, Frizzell would begin a collaboration that would last for decades when he sent in a demo to Mike Judge for a film the director was shooting. The demo included musical suites sporadic dialogue of Beavis and Butt-head saying, “this sucks.” As a result, John Frizzell became the composer of the first full-length Beavis & Butt-Head film, Beavis and Butt-Head Do America, followed by Office Space and numerous projects including, King of the Hill, Tales from the Tour Bus, and the new film, Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe which received the 2022 Hollywood Music in Media Award for Best Score - Streamed Animated Film (Streamed).

In addition to scoring films, John Frizzell’s television credits include King of The Hill, The Following, Tell Me a Story, and Season 2 of the Neftlix Original Series, Space Force.A proponent for film music and film music issues, Frizzell has served on the Executive Board of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, lectured to graduate students at USC Thornton School of Music and the Sundance Film Music Lab. He has also served as the Honorary President of the International Film Music Conference in Ubeda, Spain.

John Frizzell is autistic. He was diagnosed as an adult and revealed this in 2023 on the podcast ‘Adulting on The Spectrum’.

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The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the hosts and guests and do not necessarily reflect the views of Autism Speaks.