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Johnny Mercer's 100th Birthday: TCM Spotlight
Remind Me

Johnny Mercer Profile

Songwriter extraordinaire Johnny Mercer (1909–1976) hit his stride with his film work, which began in the 1930s and continued into the 1970s, earning him an astonishing 19 Academy Award® nominations. On the occasion of his 100th birthday, TCM presents a rich sampling of Mercer's film output including the four Oscar®-winning songs that feature his lyrics: "On the Atchison, Evening" from Here Comes the Groom (1951), "Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) and the title song from Days of Wine and Roses (1962).

We also proudly present the TCM original documentary Johnny Mercer: The Dream's on Me (2009), co-produced by Clint Eastwood and featuring interviews with Tony Bennett, Julie Andrews, Blake Edwards, John Williams and others. On Mercer's actual birthday, November 18, comes a 24-hour marathon of movies to which he contributed lyrics and/or music. (He was also a composer, a singer who recorded his own songs and a co-founder of Capitol Records.) The evening will be co-hosted by Robert Kimball, editor of the new book The Complete Lyrics of Johnny Mercer.

Mercer had no formal musical training but was heavily influenced by jazz and the blues, both in his native Savannah, Georgia, and in New York City, where he moved at age 19. In 1935 he relocated to Hollywood, where his folksy yet deceptively sophisticated lyrics fi t perfectly into such films as Old Man Rhythm (1935), Hollywood Hotel (1937), Blues in the Night (1941) and The Fleet's In (1942).

Throughout his illustrious career, Mercer collaborated with such top composers as Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Harry Warren, Richard Whiting and Henry Mancini. He wrote the lyrics for complete musical film scores including Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (1954) and two based on Broadway productions for which he also composed the music: Top Banana (1954) and Li'l Abner (1959).

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