Bruce Broughton was born on March 8, 1945 in Los Angeles. He graduated from the Punahou School in Honolulu in 1962, and from the University of Southern California later in the 1960s. The compositions in the Bruce Broughton Collection at the University of North Texas are dated from 1960 onward, and include the Punahou School class song of 1962, as well as numerous works for a variety of ensemble sizes and instrumentation. Music composed in 1972 for two industrial films marks the first appearance of film and television music in the collection alongside Broughton's concert works.
In a lecture at the University of North Texas on April 4, 2018, Broughton described his initial work for CBS television after college, naming Jerry Goldsmith, Laurence Rosenthal, Lalo Schifrin, Michel LeGrand, and Henry Mancini as role models whom he was able to meet while at CBS.
Broughton went on to compose for multiple well-known television series, including Gunsmoke, Hawaii Five-O, and Dallas, among numerous others, along with music for television movies and miniseries, and theatrical releases beginning with The Prodigal (1983). His offical website further details his extensive output of memorable themes and film scores:
"Bruce Broughton is best known for his many motion picture scores, including Silverado, Tombstone, The Rescuers Down Under, The Presidio, Miracle on 34th Street, the Homeward Bound adventures and Harry and the Hendersons. His television themes include The Orville, JAG, Steven Spielberg’s Tiny Toon Adventures and Dinosaurs. His scores for television range from mini-series like Texas Rising and The Blue and Gray to TV movies (Warm Springs, O Pioneers!) and countless episodes of television series such as Dallas, Quincy, Hawaii Five-O and How the West Was Won."
Broughton has received 24 Emmy nominations, and has won 10 Emmy Awards. In addition to his prolific composition for film and television, he has written music for Disney theme parks, and for the video game Heart of Darkness. He has continued to compose concert works, receiving numerous commissions to compose for a variety of ensembles, and he remains active in professional organizations and as an educator, most recently as composer-in-residence for 2020–2021 at the University of North Texas College of Music.