Enrico Nicola Mancini was born on April 16, 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio and grew up in the Pittsburgh suburb of West Alepuippa, Pennsylvania. As a pre-teen Henry Mancini played both the flute and the piano. After High School, Henry went to the renowned Juilliard School of Music in New York. He only stayed about a year before he was drafted into the army in 1943. Upon discharge, Henry Mancini entered the music industry and became a pianist and arranger for the newly formed Glenn Miller band led by Tex Beneke.
In 1952 Mancini joined the Universal-International Studios music department. During the next six years he contributed to over 100 films, most notably “The Creature from the Black Lagoon,” “Tarantula” and “The Glenn Miller Story for which Mancini received his first Academy Award nomination, “The Benny Goodman Story” and “Touch of Evil”. Mancini left Universal-International to work as an independent composer/arranger in 1958. In 1960 his “Mr. Lucky” theme gave him his first hit single, “Moon River” from the motion picture Breakfast at Tiffany’s followed 1961 with “Days of Wine and Roses” in 1963. Mancini topped the Hit Parade in 1969 with the “Love theme from Romeo & Juliet,” followed by “Theme from Love Story” in 1971.
Mancini recorded nearly 100 albums in styles ranging from big band to jazz to classical to pops, 8 of which were certified gold. He had a 20 year contract with RCA resulting in 60 record albums that made him a household name of easy listening music. He was also a concert performer, conducting over fifty engagements per year, resulting in over 600 symphony performances in his lifetime.
Among the symphony orchestras he conducted are the London Symphony Orchestra, the Boston Pops, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He appeared in 1966, 1980 and 1984 in command performances for England’s Royal Family. At 70, Henry Mancini died of cancer in Beverly Hills, California on June 4, 1994. He was nominated for an unprecedented 72 Grammys, winning 20. Additionally he was nominated for 18 Academy Awards, winning four. He also won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for two Emmy’s.
At 70 years of age on June 14, 1994 Henry Mancini died of pancreatic cancer in Los Angeles.
Henry Mancini has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Hit Parade Hall of Fame in 2009.