Henry Mancini - Writer

Composer and music director. Nationality: American. Born: Enrico Nicola Mancini in Cleveland, Ohio, 16 April 1924. Education: Studied flute and piano as a child; attended Juilliard School, New York; also studied with Knek, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, and Senrey. Military Service: During World War II. Family: Married Virginia O'Connor, 1947, one son and twin daughters. Career: Arranger and pianist with Glenn Miller Orchestra and other bands; 1952–58—arranger, orchestrator, and composer for Universal; also song composer, and composer for TV, including the mini-series Arthur Hailey's The Moneychangers , 1976, The Best Place to Be , 1979, and The Thorn Birds , 1983. Awards: Academy Award, for Breakfast at Tiffany's and song "Moon River," 1961, the song "Days of Wine and Roses," Day of Wine and Roses , 1962, and Victor/Victoria , 1982. Died: Of liver and pancreatic cancer, in Los Angeles, 14 June 1994.

Films as Composer:


Creature from the Black Lagoon (Arnold); Six Bridges to Cross (Pevney) (song); Four Guns to the Border (Carlson)


The Private War of Major Benson (Hopper); Tarantula (Arnold); This Island Earth (J. Newman)


The Creature Walks among Us (Sherwood); Congo Crossing (Pevney); Rock, Pretty Baby (Bartlett)


Man Afraid (Keller); The Big Beat (Cowan)


Damn Citizen (Gordon); Flood Tide (Biberman); Summer Love (Haas); Touch of Evil (Welles); Voice in the Mirror (Keller)


High Time (Edwards)

Henry Mancini
Henry Mancini


The Second Time Around (Sherman) (song); The Great Imposter (Burks); Bachelor in Paradise (Arnold); Breakfast at Tiffany's (Edwards); Hatari! (Hawks)


Experiment in Terror ( The Grip of Fear ) (Edwards); Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (Koster); Days of Wine and Roses (Edwards)


Charade (Donen); Soldier in the Rain (Nelson)


Man's Favorite Sport? (Hawks); The Pink Panther (Edwards); A Shot in the Dark (Edwards); The Killers (Siegel)


Dear Heart (Delbert Mann); The Great Race (Edwards)


Moment to Moment (LeRoy); Arabesque (Donen); What Did You Do in the War, Daddy? (Edwards); Two for the Road (Donen)


Gunn (Edwards); Wait until Dark (Young)


The Party (Edwards)


Me, Natalie (Coe); Gaily, Gaily ( Chicago, Chicago ) (Jewison)


The Molly Maguires (Ritt); Darling Lili (Edwards); The Hawaiians (Gries); I girasoli ( Sunflower ) (De Sica)


Sometimes a Great Notion ( Never Give an Inch ) (P. Newman); The Night Visitor ( Salem Came to Supper ) (Benedek)


Oklahoma Crude (Kramer); Visions of Eight (Lelouch and others); The Thief Who Came to Dinner (Yorkin)


That's Entertainment! (Haley) (additional music); 99 and 44/100% Dead ( Call Harry Crown ) (Frankenheimer); The White Dawn (Kaufman); The Girl from Petrovka (Miller); Once Is Not Enough (Green)


The Return of the Pink Panther (Edwards); The Blue Knight (Lee Thompson—for TV); The Great Waldo Pepper (Hill)


W. C. Fields and Me (Hiller); Alex and the Gypsy (Korty); Silver Streak (Hiller); The Pink Panther Strikes Again (Edwards)


House Calls (Zieff); Revenge of the Pink Panther (Edwards); Who Is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe? ( Too Many Chefs ) (Kotcheff); A Family Upside Down (Rich)


Nightwing (Hiller); The Great Event (Zieff); The Prisoner of Zenda (Quine); 10 (Edwards)


Little Miss Marker (Bernstein)


S.O.B. (Edwards); Condorman (Jarrott); The Shadow Box (P. Newman); Back Roads (Ritt); Mommie Dearest (Perry)


Trail of the Pink Panther (Edwards); Victor/Victoria (Edwards)


Curse of the Pink Panther (Edwards); Second Thoughts (Turman); Better Late than Never (Forbes); The Man Who Loved Women (Edwards)


Angela (Sagal); Harry & Son (P. Newman)


That's Dancing! (Haley); Lifeforce (Hooper); Santa Claus: The Movie (Szwarc)


The Great Mouse Detective (Musker and others); A Fine Mess (Edwards); That's Life! (Edwards)


Blind Date (Edwards); The Glass Menagerie (P. Newman); Heaven (D. Keaton) (songs); No Man's Land (Werner) (song)


Heavy Petting (Benz); Permanent Record (M. Silver) (song); Physical Evidence (M. Crichton); The Presidio (Hyams) (song); Sunset (Edwards); Without a Clue (Eberhardt)


Fear (O'Bannon—for TV); Born on the Fourth of July (O. Stone) (song); Mother, Mother (short) (song); Welcome Home (Schaffner); Days of Thunder (T. Scott)


Tom and Jerry: The Movie (Roman) (co); Ghost Dad (Poitier)


Switch (Edwards); Never Forget (Sargent—for TV)


Married to It (Hiller); Son of the Pink Panther (Edwards)

Other Films:


The Glenn Miller Story (A. Mann) (mus d)


The Benny Goodman Story (Davies) (arranger)


The Sex Symbol (Rich) (mus d)


By MANCINI: books—

Sounds and Scores , Northridge Music, 1962.

Did They Mention the Music? , New York, 1989.

The New Henry Mancini Songbook , Totowa, 1994.

By MANCINI: articles—

Cinema (Los Angeles), July 1966.

Action (Los Angeles), November/December 1971.

Dialogue on Film (Beverly Hills, California), January 1974.

Photoplay (London), October 1974.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), May 1977.

Interview with Elmer Bernstein, in Film Music Notebook (Calabasas, California), vol. 4, no. 1, 1978.

In Film Score , edited by Tony Thomas, South Brunswick, New Jersey, 1979.

Millimeter (New York), June 1979.

Photoplay (London), May 1983.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), vol. 7, no. 26, 1988.

On MANCINI: articles—

Focus on Film (London), March/April 1970.

Thomas, Tony, in Music for the Movies , South Brunswick, New Jersey, 1973.

Dirigido por . . . (Barcelona), January 1974.

Films in Review (New York), September 1975.

Ecran (Paris), September 1975.

Caps, John, in Film Music Notebook (Calabasas, California), vol. 3, no. 2, 1977.

24 Images (Longueuil, Quebec), September/October 1980.

Fistful of Soundtracks (London), October 1980.

Fistful of Soundtracks (London), May 1981.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), March 1982.

Films (London), October 1982.

Avant-Scène (Paris), January/February 1986.

Soundtrack! (Hollywood), vol. 9, no. 34, June 1990.

Obituary in Current Biography , August 1994.

Obituary in Down Beat , September 1994.

Obituary in Soundtrack , December 1994.

Scheurer, Timothy E., "Henry Mancini: An Appreciation and Appraisal," in Journal of Popular Film and Television (Washington, D.C.), Spring 1996.

Boyd, Herb, "A Tribute to Henry Mancini," in Down Beat , June 1996.

McKone, G., "Henry Mancini," in Film Score Monthly (Los Angeles), no. 5, 1997.

* * *

The composer who made the most important stylistic change in American film music in the late 1950s was Henry Mancini. Using the more modern techniques of the recording industry rather than the by-then outmoded ones of the film studios, and with smaller orchestras and different instrumental groupings, Mancini brought a new awareness to scoring, particularly in the case of the television series Peter Gunn .

Mancini was the son of Italian immigrants and grew up in West Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, where his steelworker father was a member of the town band, The Sons of Italy. The boy was started on the piccolo at the age of eight and sent to teachers, of whom the most important was Max Adkins, the conductor of the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh. Through Adkins, Mancini went straight from high school graduation in 1942 to the Juilliard School of Music in New York. After one year of study he was called to military service, returning to civilian life in 1946, when he was hired as a pianist and arranger with Tex Beneke's newly formed Glenn Miller Orchestra.

In 1952 Mancini was asked to arrange the music for a short subject at Universal. Head of music, Joseph Gershenson, then hired him to do some arrangements for Abbott and Costello's Lost in Africa . A contract followed and Mancini spent the next six years adapting library music, orchestrating, and scoring all manner of movies. His dance-band background proved invaluable in being assigned The Glenn Miller Story and The Benny Goodman Story . Among the many people impressed by Mancini's score for the Orson Welles classic Touch of Evil was Blake Edwards, who hired him to write the ground breaking, jazz-influenced score for Peter Gunn . Its success began an association with Edwards that resulted in the scores for Breakfast at Tiffany's , which included the song "Moon River" (written with lyricist Johnny Mercer), with Oscars for both the score and the song; Days of Wine and Roses (also working with Mercer and winning another best song Oscar); The Pink Panther and its sequels; The Great Race ; 10 ; S.O.B. ; and Victor/Victoria , which brought him an Oscar for best original song score. Mancini's film composing ran the gamut of genres. His scary music for Experiment in Terror (another Edwards-directed feature) and Wait until Dark , the poignant The Molly Maguires , and the chilling, unsettling music for The White Dawn are as much Mancini as the amusing music for Hatari! and The Great Waldo Pepper .

Additionally, he was able to employ the lighter and serious sides of his composing talents with equal effectiveness as a popular recording and performing artist, in the process winning a far greater public identity than most of his colleagues. He recorded more than 90 record albums, ranging in scope from jazz to classical-pop to big band, and each year averaged 50 concert performance dates.

Mancini was a much-loved, much-honored figure who won a total of 18 Oscar nominations (beginning in 1954, for The Glenn Miller Story ) and an astounding 72 Grammy Award nominations (including 20 wins, beginning in 1958 with an "album of the year" prize for Peter Gunn ). His final credit, prior to his death in 1994: composing for the Broadway musical version of Victor/Victoria , directed by Blake Edwards and starring Julie Andrews.

On the art of scoring Mancini said, "One thing I have learned is that good music can improve a fine film but it can never make a bad film good. Another is to recognize those parts of a film which are better off without music. We composers are not magicians. We write music. We are one of the elements that go into the making of a final piece of work. When it works and when we feel we've made a contribution, it's a great source of satisfaction."

—Tony Thomas, updated by Rob Edelman

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