James Van Heusen


Songwriter

About

Also Known As
Edward Chester Babcock, Jimmy Van Heusen
Birth Place
Syracuse, New York, USA
Born
January 26, 1913
Died
February 06, 1990

Biography

Taking his name from the shirt manufacturer, Van Heusen began writing songs for films in 1940, first in partnership with Johnny Burke and then, after 1956 with Sammy Cahn. A composer with a highly reliable ear for catchy ditties and dramatic ballads alike, he wrote such Oscar-winners as "Swinging on a Star" from "Going My Way" (1944) and "High Hopes" from "A Hole in the Head" (1959). Van...

Family & Companions

Bobbe Van Heusen
Wife
Singer. Married from 1969 until his death; performed on Broadway and in vaudeville with her sisters as the Brox Sisters; born c. 1901; died on May 2, 1999 at age 98; formerly married to agent William Perlberg.

Notes

"Jimmy Van Heusen was an architect of melody. When we were writing together, if I would ask him to add even a grace note to the song, he would sit down and write a whole new melody. He was also one of the world's greatest swingers. He used to joke that he ought to get more than 50 percent of a song because he spent so much time with Sinatra."--Sammy Cahn (NY Times obituary, 2/8/90)

He was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame when it was founded (1971).

Biography

Taking his name from the shirt manufacturer, Van Heusen began writing songs for films in 1940, first in partnership with Johnny Burke and then, after 1956 with Sammy Cahn. A composer with a highly reliable ear for catchy ditties and dramatic ballads alike, he wrote such Oscar-winners as "Swinging on a Star" from "Going My Way" (1944) and "High Hopes" from "A Hole in the Head" (1959). Van Heusen wrote 76 tunes recorded by Frank Sinatra (more than any other composer) and the songs for six of the seven Bing Crosby-Bob Hope-Dorothy Lamour "Road" comedy films.

Filmography

 

Music (Feature Film)

Ad Astra (2019)
Song
Late Night (2019)
Song
Doctor Sleep (2019)
Song
Dark Waters (2019)
Song
The Mule (2018)
Song
Whitney (2018)
Music
War Dogs (2016)
Song
Passengers (2016)
Song
The Meddler (2016)
Song
Bridge of Spies (2015)
Song
Black Mass (2015)
Song
And So It Goes (2014)
Song
Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013)
Song
Hitchcock (2012)
Song
Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol (2011)
Song
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010)
Song
Get Him to the Greek (2010)
Song Performer
Father of Invention (2010)
Song
I Love You, Man (2009)
Song
Old Dogs (2009)
Song
Year of Getting to Know Us (2008)
Song
Bachelor No. 2 (2008)
Song
My Best Friend's Girl (2008)
Song
Frost/Nixon (2008)
Song
American Pie Presents: Beta House (2007)
Song
CLICK (2006)
Song
Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One For The Road (2006)
Song
Let's Go To Prison (2006)
Song
Blue Collar Comedy Tour: One For The Road (2006)
Song
Rocky Balboa (2006)
Song
Munich (2005)
Composer
Criminal (2004)
Song
Anything Else (2003)
Song
How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
Song
Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Song
Two Weeks Notice (2002)
Song
The Adventures of Pluto Nash (2002)
Song
My First Mister (2001)
Song
Domestic Disturbance (2001)
Song
Autumn in New York (2000)
Song
What Planet Are You From? (2000)
Song
Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
Song
Blast from the Past (1999)
Song ("Like Someone In Love")
Pushing Tin (1999)
Song
Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)
Song
Payback (1999)
Song
American Beauty (1999)
Song
Antz (1998)
Song
B. Monkey (1998)
Song ("Imagination")
Sour Grapes (1998)
Song
Just the Ticket (1998)
Song ("Call Me Irresponsible")
Vegas Vacation (1997)
Song
That Old Feeling (1997)
Song
Out to Sea (1997)
Song
Fools Rush In (1997)
Song
Mother (1996)
Song
Michael (1996)
Song
Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
Song
My Fellow Americans (1996)
Song
Citizen Ruth (1996)
Song
Edie & Pen (1996)
Song
Miami Rhapsody (1995)
Song
Philadelphia (1993)
Song ("All The Way")
A Bronx Tale (1993)
Song
Rookie of the Year (1993)
Song
Bebe's Kids (1992)
Song
Cool World (1992)
Song
Only The Lonely (1991)
Song
Hudson Hawk (1991)
Song
True Colors (1991)
Song
Dying Young (1991)
Song
Betsy's Wedding (1990)
Song
Air America (1990)
Song
Goodfellas (1990)
Song
Crimes And Misdemeanors (1989)
Song
New York Stories (1989)
Song
The Presidio (1988)
Song
Let's Get Lost (1988)
Song
Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)
Song
Racing With The Moon (1984)
Song
Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)
Music
American Pop (1981)
Song
This Is Elvis (1981)
Song
Raging Bull (1980)
Composer
Mikey and Nicky (1976)
Song
Journey Back to Oz (1974)
Songs
Nightmare Honeymoon (1972)
Song
The Great Bank Robbery (1969)
Composer
Star! (1968)
Composer
Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967)
Composer
The Oscar (1966)
Composer
Texas Across the River (1966)
Composer
The 2nd Best Secret Agent in the Whole Wide World (1965)
Composer
Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964)
Composer
Where Love Has Gone (1964)
Composer
The Pleasure Seekers (1964)
Composer
Honeymoon Hotel (1964)
Composer
Papa's Delicate Condition (1963)
Composer
Come Blow Your Horn (1963)
Composer
My Six Loves (1963)
Composer
Under the Yum Yum Tree (1963)
Composer
Come Fly with Me (1963)
Composer
Johnny Cool (1963)
Composer
The Road to Hong Kong (1962)
Composer
Boys' Night Out (1962)
Composer
Pocketful of Miracles (1961)
Composer
Let's Make Love (1960)
Composer
Who Was That Lady? (1960)
Composer
Wake Me When It's Over (1960)
Composer
High Time (1960)
Composer
Ocean's Eleven (1960)
Composer
Surprise Package (1960)
Composer
Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959)
Composer
A Hole in the Head (1959)
Composer
Night of the Quarter Moon (1959)
Composer
Say One for Me (1959)
Composer
Holiday for Lovers (1959)
Composer
Some Came Running (1959)
Composer
Career (1959)
Composer
This Earth Is Mine (1959)
Composer
Indiscreet (1958)
Composer
Paris Holiday (1958)
Composer
The Joker Is Wild (1957)
Composer
Pardners (1956)
Composer
The Tender Trap (1955)
Composer
The Girl Rush (1955)
Composer
Not As a Stranger (1955)
Composer
Rear Window (1954)
Composer
Young at Heart (1954)
Composer
Little Boy Lost (1953)
Composer
Road to Bali (1953)
Composer
Mr. Music (1950)
Composer
Riding High (1950)
Composer
Top O' the Morning (1949)
Composer
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949)
Composer
The Emperor Waltz (1948)
Composer
Welcome Stranger (1947)
Composer
Road to Rio (1947)
Composer
Variety Girl (1947)
Composer
Cross My Heart (1947)
Composer
Road to Utopia (1946)
Composer
The Bells of St. Mary's (1945)
Composer
The Great John L. (1945)
Composer
Duffy's Tavern (1945)
Composer
Take It Big (1944)
Composer
Going My Way (1944)
Composer
Belle of the Yukon (1944)
Composer
And the Angels Sing (1944)
Composer
Lady in the Dark (1944)
Composer
Dixie (1943)
Composer
Road to Morocco (1942)
Composer
My Favorite Spy (1942)
Composer
Playmates (1941)
Composer
Road to Zanzibar (1941)
Composer
Love Thy Neighbor (1940)
Composer

Music (TV Mini-Series)

Unconditional Love (2002)
Song

Life Events

1939

First successful song, "Darn That Dream"

1940

Teamed with lyricist Johnny Burke to write for Paramount; first score was "Love Thy Neighbor"

1956

Began collaboration with lyricist Sammy Cahn

1965

Co-wrote (with Cahn) two unsuccessful Broadway musicals, "Skyscraper" and "Walking Happy"

Videos

Movie Clip

Tea For Two (1950) - I Know That You Know First scene for the star, Doris Day as heiress "Nanette," with pals Jimmy (Gordon MacRae) on piano and Tommy (Gene Nelson), dance instructor, song by Jimmy Van Heusen and Irving Caesar, from Tea For Two, 1950.
Let's Make Love (1960) - Title Song Billionaire Clement (Yves Montand) is still incognito, but jealous as he watches Amanda (Marilyn Monroe) perform the movie's title song by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, with her theater co-star (Frankie Vaughan), in George Cukor's Let's Make Love, 1960.
Who Was That Lady? (1960) - That Was My Wife Director George Sidney shooting on location at Columbia University in Manhattan, where Tony Curtis is a chemistry teacher, caught canoodling by his (real) wife Janet Leigh, co-star Dean Martin backing up with an original tune by Sammy Cahn and James Van Heusen, opening Who Was That Lady?, 1960.
Ocean's Eleven (1960) - Eee-O-11 Jerry Velasco is one of the uncredited accompanists for ex-ballplayer, WWII vet and garbage man Josh (Sammy Davis Jr.), knocking out specialty tune by Sammy Cahn and Jimmy Van Heusen and visited by fellow vet Vince (Buddy Lester) about the heist their buddy Frank Sinatra is planning, in the original Ocean's Eleven, 1960.
Road To Morocco (1942) - Moonlight Becomes You So Jeff (Bing Crosby) grabs his opportunity to serenade Princess Shalmar (Dorothy Lamour) with Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke's Moonlight Becomes You So, in Road To Morocco, 1942.
Road To Morocco (1942) - Ain't Got A Dime To My Name Aunt Lucy (Bob Hope) appears via special effects to snoozing Jeff (Bing Crosby) who then sets out to find his pal, with Jimmy Van Heusen and Johnny Burke's Ain't Got A Dime To My Name, in Road To Morocco, 1942.
Robin And The 7 Hoods (1964) - Any Man Who Loves His Mother Dean Martin has introduced himself as Little John, new to Chicago visiting the speakeasy run by Robbo (Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. his sidekick), running the table after a healthy wager, with one of several Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn originals, in Robin And The 7 Hoods, 1964.
Robin And The 7 Hoods (1964) - Bang Bang! Sammy Davis Jr. as Will (presumably "Scarlett"), aide to Frank Sinatra who's "Robbo," the title character, after busting up a rival's gin joint, with as big a dance number as he ever had in any Rat Pack feature, song by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, in Robin And The 7 Hoods, 1964.
Robin And The 7 Hoods (1964) - Style Over an hour into the picture, Frank Sinatra (the Chicago-gangster title character) in his first musical bit, with Dean Martin as Little John and Bing Crosby as their new pal Allen Dale, with a Jimmy Van Heusen/Sammy Cahn original simply titled "Style," in Robin And The 7 Hoods, 1964.
Tender Trap, The (1955) - A Lot Of Schmaltz An interesting exercise in pop music interpretation, Broadway novice Julie (Debbie Reynolds), offers one rehearsal rendition, then her quasi-agent Charlie (Frank Sinatra) who, we discover, is a darn fine singer, offers another, of the title song by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn, in The Tender Trap, 1955.
Tender Trap, The (1955) - Title Song The Academy Award nominated original song by Jimmy Van Heusen and Sammy Cahn became a hit and a standard for leading man Frank Sinatra, introduced with a clever opening sequence, from director Charles Walters' The Tender Trap, 1955, co-starring Debbie Reynolds.
Road To Hong Kong, The (1962) - Teamwork Straight into a vaudeville style performance of a Sammy Cahn/Jimmy Van Heusen custom-written original, Bing Crosby and Bob Hope open their final “Road” picture, The Road To Hong Kong, with Joan Collins and Dorothy Lamour, from Norman Panama and Melvin Frank.

Trailer

Top O' The Morning (1949) -- (Original Trailer) From Paramount and Bing Crosby Enterprises, with direct reference to their earlier hits Going My Way, 1944 and Welcome, Stranger!, 1947, the trailer for Top O’ The Morning, 1949, in which Bing plays a singing insurance investigator come to Ireland following the theft of the Blarney Stone, with Barry Fitzgerald as the local cop.
Pocketful Of Miracles (1961) -- (Original Trailer) Bette Davis plays Apple Annie in Frank Capra's last movie, Pocketful Of Miracles (1961).
Hole In The Head, A - (Original Trailer) Frank Sinatra is a single father whose swinging lifestyle could cost him custody of his son in Frank Capra's A Hole In The Head (1959).
Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, A (1949) - (Original Trailer) Bing Crosby brings 19th-Century know-how to Camelot in a musical version of Mark Twain's classic tale.
Welcome Stranger - (Original Trailer) Going My Way stars Bing Crosby and Barry Fitzgerald reunite as small town doctors in Welcome Stranger (1947).
Road To Morocco - (Original Trailer) Bob Hope and Bing Crosby set off for the Sahara in their best "road" movie, Road To Morocco (1942).
Tender Trap, The - (Original Trailer) A swinging bachelor finds love when he meets a girl immune to his charms in The Tender Trap (1955) starring Frank Sinatra.
Journey to the Center of the Earth - (Original Trailer) A professor (James Mason) and his colleagues follow an explorer's trail down an extinct Icelandic volcano to the earth's center.
Road To Utopia, The - (Original Trailer) Bob Hope and Bing Crosby set off for Alaska and in-jokes aplenty on The Road To Utopia (1946).

Companions

Bobbe Van Heusen
Wife
Singer. Married from 1969 until his death; performed on Broadway and in vaudeville with her sisters as the Brox Sisters; born c. 1901; died on May 2, 1999 at age 98; formerly married to agent William Perlberg.

Bibliography

Notes

"Jimmy Van Heusen was an architect of melody. When we were writing together, if I would ask him to add even a grace note to the song, he would sit down and write a whole new melody. He was also one of the world's greatest swingers. He used to joke that he ought to get more than 50 percent of a song because he spent so much time with Sinatra."--Sammy Cahn (NY Times obituary, 2/8/90)

He was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame when it was founded (1971).