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Mancini, Henry (Enrico Nicola)

Mancini, Henry (Enrico Nicola)

Mancini, Henry (Enrico Nicola), prolific American composer, conductor, and arranger; b. Cleveland, Ohio, April 16,1924; d. Los Angeles, June 14,1994. Mancini revolutionized film and television scoring by introducing elements of jazz and rock ’n’ roll into a series of movie and TV productions during the late 1950s and 1960s, notably the Peter Gunn program, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and The Pink Panther.These efforts brought him Academy Award and Emmy nominations resulting in four Oscars, two of them for his songs“Moon River” and“Days of Wine and Roses.” Simultaneously, he launched a recording career that found him reaching the charts with 39 albums between 1959 and 1977 and topping the singles charts with his recording of“Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet.” His records won him 20 Grammys.

Mancini’s parents, Quinto and Anna Pece Mancini, were Italian immigrants. His father worked in the steel industry in West Aliquippa, Pa., and played piccolo and flute, which he taught to his son; they played together in the local Sons of Italy band, and Mancini joined the Pa. All-State Band in 1937. Already intent upon a career as a film composer, he began taking piano lessons. When he was 14 or 15 he was sent to Pittsburgh to study piano with Homer Ochsenhardt, then began studying arranging with Max Adkins. Adkins introduced him to Benny Goodman, who accepted one of his arrangements. At the same time, having graduated from high school, he was accepted at the Juilliard School of Music, where he began attending in 1942. He majored in piano, studied with Gordon Stanley. Having turned 18 not long after the U.S. entry into World War II, he was quickly drafted into the Air Force. Glenn Miller arranged to have him assigned to a service band with which he played until 1944, when he was reassigned to the infantry and sent to Europe.

Mancini was discharged from the service on March 30,1946, and shortly after, joined the Glenn Miller Orch. under the direction of Tex Beneke (Miller died in the war). Mancini played piano and wrote arrangements for the band. He became romantically involved with Ginny (Virginia) O’Connor, a member of the Mello-Larks, who sang with the orchestra. When she left to become a session singer in Los Angeles, he followed, marrying her on Sept. 13, 1947; they had three children, Christopher, Monica, and Felice, each of whom worked in the music industry.

Mancini spent the years 1947 to 1952 writing music and arrangements for radio shows, bands, and nightclub performers while studying at the Westlake School of Music. Also at this time, Mancini studied with Ernst Krenek, Dr. Alfred Sendry, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco in preparation to become a film composer. When the Mello-Larks were hired to sing in a short film featuring Jimmy Dorsey at Universal-International Pictures, Mancini was brought in as their arranger, whichled to a two-week assignment to write music for the Abbott and Costello comedy Lost in Alaska.He was then hired as a member of the music department, and over the next six years he composed, arranged, and adapted music for 100 films, most of them low-budget B-pictures. His experience with swing music gave him a natural affinity for the studio’s film biography The Glenn Miller Story, one of the biggest box office hits of 1954, which earned him his first Academy Award nomination for Best Score. His score for the 1956 film Rock, Pretty Baby was released on a soundtrack LP by Decca Records that made the charts in 1957.

With the decline of the studio system, Mancini was laid off by Universal in 1958; but producer, director, and screenwriter Blake Edwards, with whom he worked previously, immediately hired him to write music for the television detective show, Peter Gunn.Mancini’s theme for the show employed elements of rock ’n’ roll, and his music for the individual episodes was jazzstyled. The series was successful upon its debut in September, and Ray Anthony, who had scored a hit five years earlier with the theme from the TV series Dragnet, recorded Mancini’s“Peter Gunn” as a single that reached the Top Ten in February 1959. RCA Victor Records signed Mancini to a recording contract and had him record an album’s worth of the music he had written for the series. His debut album, The Music from Peter Gunn, topped the charts in February 1959 and went gold. The series music earned him an Emmy nomination for Best Musical Contribution to a Television Program, and he was nominated for four of the newly instituted Grammy Awards for the album, winning for Album of the Year and Best Arrangement. He quickly followed up with a second LP, More Music from Peter Gunn, which reached the Top Ten in June 1959 and earned him an additional six Grammy nominations: Album of the Year; Best Jazz Performance, Group; Best Performance by an Orch.; Best Musical Composition, More Than 5 Minutes; Best Sound Track Album of Background Score for a Motion Picture or TV; and Best Arrangement.

Mancini and Edwards teamed for a second television series for the 1959–60 season, Mr. Lucky, about a gambler. The inevitable Music from Mr. Lucky album hit the Top Ten in April 1960, the same month that Mancini’s instrumental recording of his theme“Mr. Lucky” (lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans) reached the Top 40. The LP was nominated for three Grammys, winning for Best Performance by an Orch. and Best Arrangement but losing out for Best Soundtrack Album or Recording of Music Score from a Motion Picture or TV. A follow-up album, Mr. Lucky Goes Latin, spent six months in the charts and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by an Orch. for Dancing. Mr. Lucky spent only one season on TV, but Mancini and Edwards returned to filmmaking, launching a director-composer partnership that would result in 26 movies released between 1960 and 1993. The first was a Bing Crosby vehicle, High Time, which opened in September 1960. Marking Peter Gunn’s third and final season, Duane Eddy revived“Peter Gunn” for a Top 40 hit in October. Mancini’s RCA contract called for three albums per year, and in addition to his versions of music he had written for television or film, he also began to record LPs containing his arrangements of music written by others. The Blues and the Beat, an album of jazz and blues standards, reached the charts in November 1960 and earned two Grammy nominations: Best Performance by a Band for Dancing and Best Jazz Performance, Large Group, winning in the latter category.

Mancini scored three films released in 1961. The Great Impostor appeared in March, accompanied by his recording of the instrumental theme, which reached the singles charts. Bachelor in Paradise opened in November, and its title song, with lyrics by Mack David, was nominated for an Academy Award. But Mancini’s major effort of the year was his score for the Blake Edwards-directed Breakfast at Tiffany’s, released in October. The film was a box office hit, and Mancini’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s LP topped the charts and went gold.“Moon River” (lyrics by Johnny Mercer) was sung under the film’s credits by Andy Williams and in the film itself by Audrey Hepburn. Both Mancini’s instrumental recording of the song and a vocal version by Jerry Butler hit the Top Ten in November. At the Academy Awards ceremony, Mancini won best score {Breakfast at Tiffany’s) and best song (“Moon River”) Oscars. At the Grammys his Breakfast at Tiffany’s LP was nominated for Album of the Year and won for Best Performance by an Orch. (for Other than Dancing) and Best Soundtrack Album or Recording of Score from a Motion Picture or TV; his recording of“Moon River” won for Record of the Year and Best Arrangement;“Moon River” was named Song of the Year. Andy Williams, who had not recorded“Moon River” initially, released it on an album, Moon River & Other Great Movie Themes, that reached the Top Ten and went gold. It became his signature song, and he used it as the theme of his television series, The Andy Williams Show.

Also during 1961, Mancini began to make personal appearances, eventually giving up to 50 concerts a year. He scored four films released in 1962, notably Hatari!, a box office hit released in July, and Days of Wine and Roses, released in December. Lawrence Welk scored a chart entry with“Baby Elephant Walk” from Hatari!, and Mancini charted with“Theme from Hatari!,” while the Hatari! LP reached the Top Ten, earning four Grammy nominations:“Sounds of Hatari!” for Best Original Jazz Composition;“Baby Elephant Walk” for Best Instrumental Theme and Best Instrumental Arrangement; and the album as a whole for Best Performance by an Orch. or Instrumentalist with Orch. (Not Jazz or Dancing). The Blake Edwards-directed Days of Wine and Roses drew its greatest attention for the title song (lyrics by Johnny Mercer), which won the Academy Award for Best Song and the Song of the Year Grammy, while Mancini and Andy Williams, who sang it in the film, each scored Top 40 hits. Mancini’s instrumental version won two Grammys: Record of the Year and Best Background Arrangement. In the absence of a Mancini LP of the score, Williams’s Days of Wine and Roses album topped the charts and went gold.

Mancini had only two film scores released in 1963, which may have afforded him more time for his recordings. Our Man in Hollywood, which hit the Top Ten in March, contained his versions of some of his own and others’ film music; it earned a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by an Orch. or Instrumentalist with Orch. (Not Jazz or Dancing). Uniquely Mancini, a collection of jazz and R&B standards, was in the Top Ten in June. Mancini had a surprise Top 40 hit in July, as his instrumental“Tinpanola” from Mr. Lucky Goes Latin was given a lyric by Al Stillman and recorded by Perry Como as“(I Love You) Don’t You Forget It.” Mancini’s most notable film work of the year came with the December release Charade, one of the year’s biggest box office hits. The title song, with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, was an Academy Award nominee, and there were two instrumental versions of it in the Top 40, one by Mancini and the other by Sammy Kaye. Mancini’s Charade LP made the Top Ten and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by a Chorus.

Of Mancini’s five film scores in 1964, the most memorable was Blake Edwards’s The Pink Panther, which earned him an Academy Award nomination. His single of “The Pink Panther Theme” reached the Top 40 and won three Grammys, for Best Instrumental Composition (Other Than Jazz), Best Instrumental Performance (Other Than Jazz), and Best Instrumental Arrangement. His album The Pink Panther hit the Top Ten, went gold, and earned two Grammy nominations, for Album of the Year and Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Show. Blake Edwards quickly followed up the film with a sequel, A Shot in the Dark, released in June, and Mancini’s score included the title tune (lyrics by Robert Wells), which he took into the singles charts.

In July RCA released the hits collection The Best of Mancini, which went gold. Mancini’s next notable film score came with the release of Dear Heart in December. The title song (lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans) earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Song, Grammy nomination for Song of the Year, and was recorded by Andy Williams and Jack Jones for Top 40 hits. Mancini’s chart single of the song was nominated for a 1964 Grammy for Best Performance by a Chorus and his Top Ten LP Dear Heart and Other Songs About Love, released later, was nominated for the same award in 1965.

Mancini’s only film score of 1965 was for Blake Edwards’s box office hit The Great Race.From it came the song “The Sweetheart Tree” (lyrics by Johnny Mercer); it was nominated for an Academy Award. Johnny Mathis and Mancini had chart singles with the song, and Mancini earned a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Performance (Non-Jazz). In February 1966, Mancini released the double-album The Academy Award Songs, containing his renditions of Oscar-winning songs dating back to 1934; it reached the charts and earned a Grammy nomination for Best Performance by a Chorus. May brought the release of Arabesque, the second of three films with Mancini scores released in 1966. His Arabesque album charted and earned three Grammy nominations: Best Instrumental Theme and Best Instrumental Arrangement for the title tune, and Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Show for the album itself. In August, Blake Edwards’s film What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? was released with a Mancini score that included“In the Arms of Love” (lyrics by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans), which Andy Williams recorded for a chart entry. In September, RCA released A Merry Mancini Christmas, a perennial seller that eventually went gold.

Mancini’s record sales declined starting in 1966, but he continued to place albums in the lower reaches of the charts and to write an average of three film scores a year. In June 1969 he scored a surprise #1, million selling hit with his recording of“Love Theme from Romeo & Juliet” (music by Nino Rota) from his album A Warm Shade of Ivory, which went gold and hit the Top Ten. The single was nominated for Grammys for Record of the Year and Best Contemporary Instrumental Performance, and won for Best Instrumental Arrangement. By 1969 his film scores were being released as soundtrack albums by various labels rather than as Henry Mancini albums by RCA, and the film Me, Natalie, which opened in July 1969 with a soundtrack on Columbia Records, earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special.

Since his RCA contract still called for three albums a year, Mancini’s work turned up with even greater frequency in record stores. In 1970, for example, eight albums containing his music were released: RCA’s newly recorded Theme from“Z” and Other Film Music, Mancini Country, and Mancini Plays the Theme from“Love Story,” plus the compilation LP This Is Henry Mancini (all of which reached the charts) and soundtracks from four films that opened during the year with his scores—The Molly Maguires (Paramount), The Hawaiians (United Artists), Darling Lili (RCA), and Sunflower (Avco Embassy). During that year’s Grammy competition, he won his 19th award for Best Contemporary Instrumental Performance for the Theme from“Z” and Other Film Music LP, his 20th for Best Instrumental Arrangement for the track“Theme from Z” (music by Mikis Theodor-akis), and earned nominations for Best Instrumental Composition for the track“Theme from Sunflower” and Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special for the Darling Lili LP. (The track“Theme from Love Story”[music by Francis Lai], released too late to qualify for the 1970 Grammys, was nominated for a 1971 Grammy for Best Pop Instrumental Performance.) At the Oscars, he was nominated for Best Song for“Whistling Away the Dark” (lyrics by Johnny Mercer) from Darling Lili, Best Original Score for Sunflower, and Best Original Song Score for Darling Lili.

After doing little work on television for the previous decade, Mancini began to accepting assignments writing TV themes, such as those for the network adventure series Cade’s County, the children’s show Curiosity Shop, and the syndicated series Circus!, all in 1971. He did his next film work on Sometimes a Great Notion, released in November 1971, a country-styled score featuring the song“All His Children” (lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman), sung on the soundtrack by Charley Pride and nominated for an Academy Award. Pride’s recording hit the country Top Ten in March 1972. That year Mancini expanded his television activities, hosting and writing music for his own syndicated show, The Mancini Generation, for which 28 episodes were taped. His “Theme from The Mancini Generation” earned a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Arrangement, and he also got two nominations in connection with the album Brass on Ivory, which he did with trumpeter Doc Severinsen, Best Pop Instrumental Performance with Vocal Coloring for the LP as a whole, and Best Instrumental Composition for the title tune.

Mancini returned to film-scoring in 1973 with three movies, the most notable of which was Oklahoma Crude, including the song“Send a Little Love My Way” (lyrics by Hal David), sung on the soundtrack by Anne Murray, whose recording made the pop and country charts. He scored another four films released in 1974, including the MGM compilation That’s Entertainment!, a major box office hit. Among the three films featuring his scores that were released in 1975, the box office hit Return of the Pink Panther marked a reunion with Blake Edwards, and the his RCA album of the film’s music earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV Special. He also wrote music for the TV movie The Blue Knight in 1975, one of several television films he would score in subsequent years. He had another four film scores in 1976, among them The Pink Panther Strikes Again, featuring the song“Come to Me” (lyrics by Don Black), which was nominated for an Academy Award. He also released two new albums on RCA, and two tracks from the first—Henry Mancini Conducts the London Symphony Orch. in a Concert of Film Music —earned Grammy nominations, for Best Instrumental Arrangement for“The Disaster Movie Suite” and Best Instrumental Composition for“The White Dawn.”

Mancini’s most notable work of 1977 was the score for the television miniseries The Money Changers. Among the three feature films and two TV movies he scored in 1978, the most successful was Revenge of the Pink Panther, which earned him an Academy Award nomination for the song“Move ’Em Out” (lyrics by Leslie Bricusse) and two Grammy nominations, Best Pop Instrumental Performance for “The Pink Panther Theme (’78)” and Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV for the soundtrack LP. He left RCA after 20 years with the November release of the album The Theme Scene. He scored three films in 1979, notably 10, which earned him Academy Award nominations for Best Song for“It’s Easy to Say” (lyrics by Robert Wells) and Best Original Score and a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Instrumental Performance for“Ravel’s Bolero.” There were two features and a TV movie in 1980 and four features in 1981. In 1982 he won his fourth Academy Award for Best Original Song Score for Victor/Victoria, a film musical starring Julie Andrews and directed by Blake Edwards; the soundtrack album earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Album of Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a TV Special. He was also up for a 1982 Grammy for Best Instrumental Composition for “The Thorn Birds Theme” from his score from the popular TV miniseries The Thorn Birds, broadcast during the 1982–83 season.

Mancini scored three films in 1983 and two in 1984. Also in 1984, he teamed with flutist James Galway for the album In the Pink, which earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Arrangement on an Instrumental for the track“Cameo for Flute...For James.” There were three film scores in 1985 and another three in 1986, among them That’s Life!, from which the song“Life in a Looking Glass” (lyrics by Leslie Bricusse) was nominated for an Academy Award. Also in 1986, he accompanied Johnny Mathis on the chart album The Hollywood Musicals, from the which the track“It Might as Well Be Spring” earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s). Among his two feature and two TV film scores of 1987, the one for the theatrical release The Glass Menagerie resulted in a soundtrack album that earned him two Grammy nominations, for Best Album of Original Instrumental Background Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV and for Best Instrumental Composition for the track“The Blues in Three.”

Mancini scored two feature films and a TV movie in 1988. His album Premier Pops, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orch., earned him a Grammy nomination for Best Arrangement on an Instrumental for“Suite from The Thorn Birds”; he also was nominated for Best Instrumental Arrangement Accompanying Vocal(s) for the title track from Volare, an album he recorded with Luciano Pavarotti. In 1990, Mancini re-signed to RCA and recorded Mancini in Surround: Mostly Monsters, Murders and Mysteries, which earned a Grammy nomination for Best Arrangement on an Instrumental for the track“Monster Movie Music Suite.” His next RCA album, Cinema Italiano: Music of Ennio Morricone and Nino Rota, released in April 1991, brought him a Grammy nomination for Best Arrangement on an Instrumental for the track“The Untouchables” (music by Ennio Morricone).

Mancini cut back somewhat on his scoring activities in the early 1990s to work on a stage musical version of Victor/Victoria.He died of pancreatic cancer in 1994 at age 70. Victor/Victoria, starring Julie Andrews and directed by Blake Edwards, opened on Broadway in 1995 and ran 738 performances. The cast album earned Mancini his 73rd Grammy nomination for Best Musical Show Album.

Writings

Sounds and Scores: A Practical Guide to Professional Orchestration (Los Angeles, 1961); with G. Lees, Did They Mention the Music? (Chicago, 1989).

Works

(only works for which Mancini was a primary, credited composer are listed): film scores:Lost in Alaska (1952); Back at the Front (1952); Walking My Baby Back Home (1953); The Glenn Miller Story (1954); So This Is Paris (1954); Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy (1955); This Island Earth (1955); Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1955); Foxfire (1955); The Second Greatest Sex (1955); The Benny Goodman Story (1956); Rock, Pretty Baby (1956); The Great Man (1956); Man Afraid (1957); The Kettles on Old MacDonald’s Farm (1957); Joe Dakota (1957); Damn Citizen! (1958); Flood Tide (1958); Touch of Evil (1958); Summer Love (1958); Voice in the Mirror (1958); Never Steal Anything Small (1959); High Time (1960); The Great Impostor (1961); Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961); Bachelor in Paradise (1961); Experiment in Terror (1962); Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962); Hatari! (1962); Days of Wine and Roses (1962); Soldier in the Rain (1963); Charade (1963); Man’s Favorite Sport? (1964); The Pink Panther (1964); A Shot in the Dark (1964); The Killers (1964); Dear Heart (1964); The Great Race (1965); Moment to Moment (1966); Arabesque (1966); What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (1966); Two for the Road (1967); Gunn (1967); Wait Until Dark (1967); The Party (1968); Me, Natalie (1969); Gaily, Gaily (1969); The Molly Maguires (1970); Sunflower, aka I Girasoli (1970); The Hawaiians (1970); Darling Lili (1970); The Night Visitor (1970); Sometimes a Great Notion (1971); The Thief Who Came to Dinner (1973); Visions of Eight (1973); Oklahoma Crude (1973); That’s Entertainment! (1974); 99 and 44/100% Dead (1974); The White Dawn (1974); The Girl from Petrovka (1974); The Great Waldo Pepper (1975); The Return of the Pink Panther (1975); Once Is Not Enough (1975); W.C. Fields ana Me (1976); Alex and the Gypsy (1976); Silver Streak (1976); The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976); House Calls (1978); Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978); Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? (1978); The Prisoner of Zenda (1979); Nightwing (1979); 10 (1979); Little Miss Marker (1980); A Change of Seasons (1980); S.O.B. (1981); Mommie Dearest (1981); Condorman (1981); Back Roads (1981); Victor/ Victoria (1982); Trail of The Pink Panther (1982); Better Late Than Never (1982); Second Thoughts (1983); The Man Who Loved Women (1983); Curse of the Pink Panther (1983); Angela (1984); Harry and Son (1984); That’s Dancing! (1985); Santa Claus: The Movie (1985); Lifeforce (1985); The Great Mouse Detective (1986); A Fine Mess (1986); That’s Life (1986); Blind Date (1987); The Glass Menagerie (1987); Sunset (1988); Without a Clue (1988); Physical Evidence (1989); Welcome Home (1989); Ghost Dad (1990); Switch (1991); Tom and Jerry: The Movie (1992); Married to It (1993); Son of the Pink Panther (1993). television series:Peter Gunn (1958); Mr. Lucky (1959); The Richard Boone Show (1963); The Pink Panther (1969); Circus! (1971); Cade’s County (1971); Curiosity Shop (1971); The Mancini Generation (1972); Columbo (1973); The Invisible Man (1975); Charlie’s Angels (1976); What’s Happening!! (1976); Sanford Arms (1977); Kingston: Confidential (1977); Co-Ed Fever (1979); Ripley’s Believe It or Not (1982); Remington Steele (1982); Newhart (1982). television film scores:Carol for Another Christmas (1964); The Blue Knight (1975); The Money Changers (1977); Funny Business (1978); A Family upside Down (1978); The Best Place to Be (1979); The Shadow Box (1980); The Thorn Birds (1983); Hotle (1983); Murder by the Book (1987); If It’s Tuesday, It Still Must Be Belgium (1987); Justin Case (1988); Peter Gunn (1989); Fear (1990); Neper Forgef (1991); Julie (1992). orch.:Bearer Valley ’37, symphonic suite (June 7, 1969, Philadelphia Orch., conducted by Henry Mancini). musicals/revues:Victor/Victoria (N.Y., Oct. 25, 1995).

Bibliography

M. Okun, ed., The H. M. Songbook (1981).

—William Ruhlmann

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