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Henry Mancini Biography


Home > Music > M > Mancini, Henry > Biography


Birth Name: Enrico Nicola Mancini
Born: 1924/04/16
Birth Place: Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Died: 1994/06/14
Genres: Film Scores


Henry Mancini was born on April 16, 1924 and was a composer, conductor and arranger. Mancini was well-known for his film and television scores and won twenty Grammy Awards throughout his career, including a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. Mancini was born in Cleveland, and grew up in West Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. His parents emigrated from Italy and Mancini was raised in a traditional Italian culture. When Mancini was 12 years old he began piano lessons and from there his love for music grew culminating in his attending Juilliard School of Music in New York. However, his musical studies were interrupted in 1943 when he was drafted into the U.S. Army.

Once his tour of duty during World War II was over, Mancini took a job as a pianist and arranger for the Glenn Miller Orchestra, led by Tex Beneke. 1952 saw Mancini begin working for Universal Pictures music department, where he would contribute music to over 100 movies. Six years later Mancini left Universal to work independently as a composer/musical arranger. His first big break came when he began to score the television series “Peter Gunn” for writer/producer Blake Edwards. Edwards and Mancini struck up a working relationship that would span over 35 years. Mancini's scores for Edwards included “Breakfast at Tiffany's” (with the standard “Moon River”) and “Days of Wine and Roses” (with the title song, “Days of Wine and Roses”), as well as “Experiment in Terror,” “The Pink Panther” (and all of its sequels), “The Great Race,” “The Party” and “Victor Victoria.”

Mancini went on to score not just Academy Award winning films, but television movies, series, and miniseries, such as “The Thorn Birds.” In 1975, Mancini began composing the theme for NBC's “Nightly News,” in addition to composing and arranging music for artists such as Pat Boone, Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, Johnny Mathis, Herb Alpert, and Peggy Lee.

Mancini recorded over 90 albums throughout his career, ranging in style from big band to classical, to pop. A 20 year contract with RCA Records spawned 60 albums that made Mancini a household name in America. Mancini was also a concert conductor, conducting over 600 symphony performances during his lifetime. He has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Mancini also toured with Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams a number of times. Mancini died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles on 1994.