Johnny Mercer ( 1909 - 1976 )A former stage actor and band vocalist, he became one of America's leading lyricists, collaborating with, among others, composers Jerome Kern, Hoagy Carmichael, Harold Arlen, and Henry Mancini. Although he could not read music, he also composed many melodies himself and wrote the entire score for the Broadway musical Top Banana. His numerous popular songs as a lyricist include such hits as "Laura," "That Old Black Magic," "Jeepers Creepers," "Goody Goody," and the English lyrics for the French tune "Autumn Leaves." He won four Oscars for songs he wrote for the screen: "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe" from THE HARVEY GIRLS (1946), "In the Cool Cool Cool of the Evening" from HERE COMES THE GROOM (1951), "Moon River" from BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S (1961), and the title song of DAYS OF WINE AND ROSES (1962). He also appeared in several films.
Born John H. Mercer in Savannah, Georgia (USA) on November 18, 1909. Credited for lyrics to more than 1000 songs. Collaborated with composers Hoagy Carmichael, Harry Warren, Henry Mancini, Richard Whiting, Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, Jimmy McHugh and Jimmy Van Heusen, among others. Produced many enduring popular songs, including "Lazy Bones", "I'm an Old Cowhand", "Goody, Goody", "Jeepers Creepers", "Hooray for Hollywood", "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby", "Laura", "Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive", "Come Rain or Come Shine" "Autumn Leaves", "Moon River", "Charade", "Days of Wine and Roses", as well as the songs listed below. Educated in Virginia, Mercer moved to New York City in the late 1920s, where he worked as a bit actor. He was in the Garrick Gaieties in 1930, where he met dancer Ginger Meehan, whom he married. He began working as a lyricist shortly thereafter, and in 1934 he joined Paul Whiteman's Orchestra as master of ceremonies and featured vocalist. He appeared in the films Old Man Rhythm (1935) and Beat the Band (1935). He joined Benny Goodman's "Camel Caravan" radio show, Bob Crosby's summer replacement radio show, collaborated on the Broadway stage with Harold Arlen on St. Louis Woman (1946) and Saratoga (1959), Li'l Abner (1956), Texas, Li'l Darlin' (1949) and Foxy (1964). In 1942, Mercer founded Capitol Records with two partners, serving as talent scout and company president, and he was the first president of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame. He won Academy Awards for "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe", "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening", "Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses". Mr. Mercer died in Bel Air, California on June 25, 1976.
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