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Barry Manilow

Barry Manilow

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Also Known As: Barry Alan Pincus Died:
Born: June 17, 1943 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: singer, songwriter, musician, musical conductor, arranger, CBS mailroom attendant, brewery worker

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An immensely talented singer-musician, Barry Manilow trained at Juilliard before creating several endlessly lucrative jingles for such companies as State Farm and Band-Aid. After accompanying Bette Midler during her famous bathhouse sets, he produced her first two albums, and also began longtime professional friendships with Clive Davis and Dick Clark, gifting the latter with "It's Just another New Year's Eve" and a new version of "Bandstand Boogie." Manilow embarked on his own successful solo career with his 1973 debut album, which included the future Donna Summer single "Could it Be Magic," and he would go on to notch the hit ballads "Mandy," "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again," "Weekend in New England," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You," "Ready To Take a Chance Again" and his most iconic smash, the upbeat, infectious "Copacabana." Frequently mocked for his middle-of-the-road persona and soft-focus music as well as his ambiguous sexuality, Manilow displayed a refreshing, self-deprecating sense of humor, and embarked on multiple successful international tours. He contributed a song to "Oliver & Company" (1988), co-wrote the scores for the animated films "Thumbelina" (1994) and "The...

An immensely talented singer-musician, Barry Manilow trained at Juilliard before creating several endlessly lucrative jingles for such companies as State Farm and Band-Aid. After accompanying Bette Midler during her famous bathhouse sets, he produced her first two albums, and also began longtime professional friendships with Clive Davis and Dick Clark, gifting the latter with "It's Just another New Year's Eve" and a new version of "Bandstand Boogie." Manilow embarked on his own successful solo career with his 1973 debut album, which included the future Donna Summer single "Could it Be Magic," and he would go on to notch the hit ballads "Mandy," "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again," "Weekend in New England," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You," "Ready To Take a Chance Again" and his most iconic smash, the upbeat, infectious "Copacabana." Frequently mocked for his middle-of-the-road persona and soft-focus music as well as his ambiguous sexuality, Manilow displayed a refreshing, self-deprecating sense of humor, and embarked on multiple successful international tours. He contributed a song to "Oliver & Company" (1988), co-wrote the scores for the animated films "Thumbelina" (1994) and "The Pebble and the Penguin" (1995), and co-wrote several live-action musicals. An Emmy winner, Manilow topped the Billboard album charts for the first time with 2006's The Greatest Songs of the Fifties and booked long-running stints in Las Vegas and on "American Idol" (Fox, 2002-16). Self-aware of his campy but inescapable appeal, Barry Manilow achieved international fame as a much-loved superstar.

Born June 17, 1943 in Brooklyn, NY, Barry Alan Pincus was born into a Jewish family, and took his mother's maiden name, Manilow, at the time of his bar mitzvah. Gifted with an innate, prodigious musical talent, Manilow enrolled in Juilliard in 1961, while working at CBS. There, he met a director who asked him to arrange some songs for a musical, "The Drunkard," but Manilow surprised him by writing the entire score, which then earned an eight-year run off-Broadway. Supporting himself as a pianist, arranger and producer, Manilow then embarked on the most lucrative of all his ventures: working as a commercial jingle writer. Enjoying unparalleled success, he wrote, composed and sang such immensely memorable and profitable jingles for companies such as State Farm, Band-Aid and McDonald's. Ed Sullivan's production company hired him as an arranger, and he began performing with Jeanne Lucas as a musical duo at New York's Upstairs at the Downstairs club.

In 1970, Manilow began accompanying Bette Midler for her famous sets in New York's Continental Baths, and their musical collaborations proved so inspiring to her that she retained him to assist with the production of her first two albums, 1972's The Divine Miss M and 1973's Bette Midler, as well as serving as the musical director for her "The Divine Miss M" tour. His debut album, 1973's Barry Manilow, included the song "Could It Be Magic," which would later become one of Donna Summer's biggest hits. The singer-songwriter's talents caught the eye of a young Clive Davis, who saw enormous potential in him, and he took a special interest in guiding and shaping his career at Arista Records. The second album, Barry Manilow II, (1974) cemented Manilow's stardom as a viable performer, spinning off the smash No. 1 hit, the timeless ballad "Mandy." So popular was the second album that it caused the label to remix and reissue his first album, retitled Barry Manilow I.

Manilow's 1975 appearance on "American Bandstand" (WFIL-TV, 1952-57; ABC, 1957-1987, syndicated, 1987-88, USA Network, 1989) led to a fruitful, longtime collaboration with Dick Clark, with Manilow composing and performing "It's Just another New Year's Eve" for Clark's annual specials and providing an updated rendition of "Bandstand Boogie," the series' theme song. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Manilow began a run of chart dominance with such lush, soft-focus smashes as "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again," "Weekend in New England," "Looks Like We Made It" and "Can't Smile Without You." Capitalizing on his success, ABC tapped him to appear in four variety specials, which received huge ratings, multiple Emmy nominations and several wins. His smash "Ready to Take a Chance Again," which appeared on the soundtrack to the Goldie Hawn/Chevy Chase romantic comedy smash "Foul Play" (1978) earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.

But his most iconic song was perhaps the campy sing-a-long "Copacabana," which told the story of the passionate showgirl Lola and her ill-fated romance with bartender Tony. So catchy was the ditty that it took on a life of its own, later inspiring multiple projects by Manilow, including several musicals, including "Copacabana" (CBS, 1985), which starred Manilow as Tony and Annette O'Toole as Lola. In 1979, Manilow produced Dionne Warwick's platinum-selling Dionne and earned another Top Ten hit, "Ships." Throughout the 1980s, Manilow continued to enjoy musical success, but on the adult contemporary rather than mainstream pop charts, notching the hits "The Old Songs," "Somewhere Down the Road," "Read 'Em and Weep" and "I Don't Want to Walk Without You." Though his popularity had peaked in the 1970s, he continued to book multi-million dollar sold-out performances around the world, including a record-setting 10-night set at Radio City Music Hall in 1984.

Despite, or perhaps because of, Manilow's amazing success, he was frequently the target of jokes and parody, most often in terms of rumors regarding his ambiguous sexuality and his perceived "middle of the road," un-cool persona, which he bore through the years with self-deprecating humor. Artistically, he began incorporating more world music into his compositions, and to generously support music departments at multiple colleges and universities. His autobiography, Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise, was published in 1987 and he wrote a song, "Perfect Isn't Easy" for Bette Midler's character to sing in the animated Disney film "Oliver & Company" (1988). Starting in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, Manilow began focusing on recording other artists' music, releasing albums of holiday, Broadway, Big Band and tribute covers. He co-wrote the musical scores for the Don Bluth animated films "Thumbelina" (1994) and "The Pebble and the Penguin" (1995) and co-wrote a live-action musical, "Harmony," which was eventually canceled due to financial issues.

His 2002 greatest hits CD, Ultimate Manilow, was a hit, and he once again collaborated with Midler on two successful projects: 2003's Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook and 2005's Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook. Like many crowd-pleasing artists of his ilk, he began a long-running gig in Las Vegas as well as a string of appearances on "American Idol" (Fox, 2002-16) as a mentor and guest judge. Far from winding down, his career continued unabated; he earned his first No. 1 album with 2006's The Greatest Songs of the Fifties, which went platinum; won an Emmy for his performance in "Barry Manilow: Music and Passion" (PBS, 2006); and notched a No. 2 album with 2006's The Greatest Songs of the Sixties. In 2010, Manilow performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. In April 2015, it was revealed that Manilow had married his longtime manager, Garry C. Kief, in a small private ceremony in 2014.

By Jonathan Riggs

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Copacabana (1985) Tony Starr
3.
 ABC's Christmas in Aspen (2002) Featuring
4.
 Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over (2001) Interviewee
7.
 Manilow Live! (2000)
8.
 Manilow Country (2000)
9.
 ABC 2000 (1999)
10.
 Intimate Portrait: Suzanne Somers (1998) Interviewee
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Changed name to Barry Manilow at age 13
1985:
First recording on RCA, "Manilow"
1981:
His "In the Round" world tour set box-office records in the United Kingdom and elsewhere
1985:
Made TV acting debut in "Copacabana" (CBS), based on his hit song
:
Played piano for Bette Midler at the Continental Baths in NYC
:
With Lucas, formed an act; opened for Joan Rivers at Downstairs at the Upstairs
:
After high school, obtained job in the mailroom at CBS; met future collaborator Marty Panzer
:
As a child made first recording at the Times Square Record-Your-Own-Voice; included it on [title of album-- One Voice?]
:
At age 12, penned song "Ain't Got a Nickel, Ain't Got a Dime"
1994:
Co-wrote the songs for the animated "Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbelina"
2008:
Earned a Grammy nomination for his album <i>In The Swing Of Christmas</i>
2000:
Left Arista Records for Concord Records, a jazz-oriented label in California
:
Made recording debut as vocalist for the group Featherbed, produced by Tony Orlando
2002:
Portrayed himself in the comedy "Unconditional Love," in which Manilow's hit "Can't Smile Without You" plays a key role in the plot
1997:
Premiered "Harmony", a musical about the Comedian Harmonists at the La Jolla Playhouse
2004:
Released both a live album, <i>2 Nights Live!</i> and a soundtrack album of his musicals <i>Scores</i>
1984:
Released jazz vocal album "2:00 AM at the Paradise Cafe"
:
Served as music director for the locally produced TV show "Callback!"
:
Toured Japan and Australia in "Around the World in 80 Dates"
:
Toured with Midler as her musical director; opened second half of her show by singing three numbers
1974:
Headlined solo tour following release of "Mandy", his first hit single
1978:
Healined "The Second Barry Manilow Special" (ABC)
1981:
Made cable debut with Showtime program "The Barry Manilow Special"
1987:
Returned to Arista Records; released "Swing Street"
:
Signed by Bell Records (later Arista) to make solo debut
1979:
Starred in "The Third Barry Manilow Special" (ABC)
1977:
Starred in first network TV variety program "The Barry Manilow Special" (ABC)
1989:
Starred on Broadway in "Barry Manilow at the Gershwin"
:
Wrote the score for the Off-Off-Broadway play "The Drunkard"
2004:
Appeared as a guest judge for the fox reality show "American Idol"
:
Began playing piano for cabaret performers, including Jeanne Lucas
1995:
Collaborated on the song score for the animated film "The Pebble and the Penguin"
1980:
Fourth ABC variety program, "One Voice"
1987:
Headlined the CBS special "Barry Manilow: Big Fun on Swing Street"
1978:
Recorded "Ready to Take a Chance Again" from the film "Foul Play"
:
Served as co-producer and arranger on Midler's first two albums
2005:
Signed a deal to perform his "Music and Passion" show at the Las Vegas Hilton through 2008
1994:
Wrote the score for the stage production "Copacabana - The Musical"
:
Popular songs include "Can't Smile Without You" and "Mandy".
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

City College of New York: New York, New York -
New York College of Music: New York, New York -
The Juilliard School: New York, New York -
Eastern District High School: Brooklyn, New York - 1961

Notes

Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Susan Manilow. Met in high school; divorced.
companion:
Linda Allen. Had on-again, off-again relationship from the late 1960s.

Family close complete family listing

grandfather:
Joseph Manilow. Helped to raise him.
grandmother:
Esther Manilow. Helped to raise him.
father:
Harold Kelliher.
mother:
Edna Manilow. Died in 1994.
step-father:
William Murphy.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise"

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