Henry Mancini (1924-1994)
(Enrico Nicola Mancini) was born on 16 April 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio, but he grew up in Pennsylvania. His father, an Italian immigrant, taught him to play the flute and piccolo. As a young boy, he played the flute in a youth band for several years. After graduating from high school he received musical training from Max Adkins, the musical director of the Stanley Theater in Pittsburgh, who encouraged Henry to pursue further musical studies. Mancini decided to attend the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (now Carnegie Mellon University). Adkins introduced Henry to Benny Goodman, who encouraged Henry to move to New York. Mancini took Goodmans advice and left Philadelphia. Soon after his move to New York, he was accepted into the Julliard School of Music.
After only a year in New York, Mancini was drafted in into the Air Force in 1943 during WWII. After his service ended, he moved to Los Angeles with his new wife, Ginny OConnor and began working as a freelance musician. He received a wonderful opportunity in 1952 when he was hired for a temporary assignment at Universal studios, working on an Abbott and Costello film. His talent earned him a permanent position at Universal Studios where he remained for 6 years, building his reputation as a skilled film composer and arranger. One of his earlier projects, The Glenn Miller Story, earned him an Oscar in 1954 (Best Adaptation of a Score). Mancini went on to receive eighteen Academy Award nominations, winning two Oscars for Breakfast at Tiffanys, one for The Days of Wine and Roses, and one for Victor/Victoria. Mancini was also nominated for 72 Grammys. Among the twenty Grammys that he was awarded are five for Breakfast at Tiffanys and three for The Pink Panther. He also received two Emmy nominations and was given a Golden Globe Award for his work in Darling Lili in 1970 (Best Song).
In addition to his motion-picture work, Mancini did work for television films (including The Thorn Birds), wrote the themes of many popular television shows (including Newhart, Peter Gunn, and Remington Steele) and recorded more than ninety albums. Through the nineteen-eighties, Mancini continued his work on film scores, while also working as a conductor and performer.
After a long battle with Cancer, Henry Mancini passed away in Beverly Hills, CA on 14 June 1994.