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Henry Mancini Profile

Multiple Oscar and Grammy award-winning composer whose numerous plush, tuneful, often jazzy scores of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and 80s were often more memorable than the films and TV shows for which they were written. Mancini began his career as a pianist-arranger for the Glenn Miller Orchestra under the direction of Tex Beneke after WWII and from 1952 to 1958 worked on more than 100 films as staff composer for Universal Pictures. In 1958 Mancini reached a career-changing landmark when he provided the hard-boiled, jazzy theme for Blake Edwards' "Peter Gunn" TV show. His feature film work, which had began attracting attention with his compositions and adaptation for "The Glenn Miller Story" (1954), also showed increasing maturity that same year with his Latin-accented, percussive score for Orson Welles' classic "Touch of Evil".

Mancini won his first two Oscars for the glittery romantic score of Edwards' "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961) and his most famous and oft-quoted composition, the film's theme song, "Moon River". The following year he composed the award-winning and almost-as-famous "Days of Wine and Roses" for the Edwards film of the same name. Mancini would work with Edwards on a total of 27 films, ranging from "The Pink Panther" (1964), whose sly, insinuating theme was another Mancini landmark, through "Victor/Victoria" (1982), which snared the composer yet another Oscar, right up to "Son of the Pink Panther" (1993). Mancini also composed for a wide variety of TV series, including the theme music for "Newhart" and "Remington Steele", miniseries including "The Thorn Birds" (1983) and specials even including the televising of the 1991 Democratic party's presidential candidates debate. His influence in moving scoring from an orchestral and symphonic sound to smaller group arrangements and an alluring blend of jazz and easy listening music was enormously influential and his easy facility across a wide range of popular genres enabled him to remain one of the leading artists in his field right up until the time of his death from cancer at 70.

Biographical information supplied by TCMdb

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