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Biography

"Ever since I was a kid, I've wanted to write picture music, like some kids dream of being another Mickey Mantle. I've always felt there was magic on a movie screen, seeing that bunch of light pouring out of the projector and creating images for you."
--   Henry Mancini

For a listing of the awards he received go to Awards.
 

PERSONAL DATA

   Date of Birth    :   16 April 1924
   Place of Birth   :   Cleveland, Ohio, USA
   Full Name       :   Enrico Nicola Mancini
   Wife's name    :   Ginny O'Connor
   Date of Death  :   14 June 1994
  "Henry was certainly a gifted musician and certainly a gentleman. But much more than that, only in the service of the music, and not in the service of Henry Mancini."          

Paul Newman

Henry Mancini was brought up in West Aliquippa, Pennsylvania, where he played the flute in a local band as a youth before sending some arrangements to Benny Goodman, who offered him a job. Schooled at New York's Juilliard School of Music, he began his career as a pianist-arranger for the Glenn Miller Orchestra under the direction of Tex Beneke after WWII, and in Hollywood he studied with Ernst Krenek and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. Mancini wrote music for clubs and radio shows, including work for Bob Crosby, Buddy Rich, and David Rose.

In 1952 he was given a two-week assignment at Universal-International to work on an Abbott and Costello film, but ended up staying there for six years and worked as a staff composer. Success with the "The Glenn Miller Story" (1954) allowed him to score many other films, helping along the way to change the style of film background music by injecting jazz into the traditional orchestral arrangements of the 1950s. He wrote at least partial scores for over 100 of the studio's films, among them Border River, Creature From The Black Lagoon, The Creature Walks Among Us, Damn Citizen, Flood Tide, Four Guns To The Border, The Golden Blade, The Great Impostor, It Came From Outer Space, Man Afraid, So This Is Paris, The Thing That Couldn't Die, The Tattered Dress, Touch Of Evil, Veils Of Bagdad, Voice In The Mirror and Walking My Baby Back Home.

His jump to success came when Blake Edwards asks him to write the music for a new television show he was making, that would be called Peter Gunn. His thrilling theme was a huge success and it was the first time that jazz was used for a TV show. Mancini won a Grammy Award for the music. The two next show was "Mr. Lucky", a smooth, sophisticated character whom Mancini captured with a beautiful melody played by strings and organ with distinctive brass counterpoints. Once again, the music became famous - and so did Mancini.

Mancini went on to compose a long line of classic film scores, including Breakfast At Tiffany's, Experiment In Terror, Hatari! and The Pink Panther series of films comedies. His music also enriched television series such as Newhart, Peter Gunn and Remington Steele and just a few of his popular songs are "Days Of Wine And Roses," "Dear Heart" and "Moon River." Besides that, he toured conducting bands and symphonic orchestras, including the Pittsburg Symphony.

He was nominated for 18 Oscars and won four; in addition, he won 20 Grammys and 2 Emmys, made over 50 albums and had 500 works published. He wrote a book on orchestration entitled "Sounds And Scores" and an autobiography, "Did They Mention The Music?".

"Hank" Mancini died of cancer on June 14 of 1994.
 

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