Henry Mancini

Legendary Composer

The award-winning composer and conductor who Americanized film and T.V. scoring including, Pink Panthar and Breakfast At Tiffany’s with song Moon River.

Enrico Nicola Mancini known professionally as Henry Mancini was a renowned American composer, conductor and arranger, who is best remembered for his film and television scores. With a career that spanned 40 years, Mancini has more than 100 films to his credit. He spear-headed a change in film scoring, replacing the use of symphonic arrangements with elements of jazz, tin pan alley, and popular music.

The prolific recording artist gave the world memorable music for its movies, including popular hits as ‘The Days of Wine and Roses’ and ‘Charade.’ Themes for the ‘Pink Panther’ film comedies and ‘Mr. Lucky’ television series were among Mr. Mancini’s most popular compositions.

In a distinguished career, Mancini won four Oscars, 20 Grammys and two Emmys, made over 50 albums and had over 500 works published. He established scholarships and fellowships for musical education and in recognition, was honored by four universities with honorary doctoral degrees. He was awarded a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.

On June 14, 1994, Henry Mancini aged 70, died of complications related to liver and pancreatic cancer at his home in Beverly Hills, California.

Name:   Henry  Mancini
Born:   16 April 1924
Star Sign: Aries
Died:   14 June 1994
Birthplace: Cleveland,
Country: Ohio (OH) United States
DetailsOther Names
Enrico Nicola
Quinto Mancini
Anna Mancini
Henry Mancini married Ginny O’ Connor in 1947. Together they raised three children.
Christopher Mancini, Felice Mancini, Monica Mancini

Childhood and Family
Henry Mancini was born Enrico Mancini, on April 16, 1924, in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. He was the only son of Quinto Mancini, a steelworker and Anna Mancini, who had immigrated from Scanno, Italy. Henry was introduced to music and the flute at the young age of eight by his father, who was an avid flutist. Later, the family moved to Aliquippa, Pennyslvania. At aged 12, Henry took up piano and within a few years became interested in arranging.

Military Service
As a teenager, Mancini learned to play a variety of musical instruments. He became enamored with jazz and big bands. He began to write arrangements and sent a few to Benny Goodman, who encouraged the teenager to pursue a career in music.

After graduating from high school in 1942, Mancinin enrolled in New York’s Julliard School of Music. But his studies were interrupted when he was drafted to overseas service in the Air Force and later in the infantry. At the U.S. Army Air Force, Mancini met Glen Miller.

Early Career
Mancini was introduced to Glen Miller’s Army Air Corps band where he served as the arranger and a pianist. In 1946, he joined the Glenn Miller Tex Beneke Orchestra as a pianist and arranger. There, he met Ginny O’Connor, who he later married.

In 1952, Mancini joined the Universal International Studios music department as an orchestrator and composer as well as did some work in Abbott and Costello movie. In 1954, Mancini became the lead arranger for the famous scores of ‘The Glenn Miller Story,’ the bandleader Glenn Miller.

Independent Composer and Arranger
Mancini contributed to over 100 films, most notably 'The Glenn Miller Story' ( which he received his first Academy Award nomination); The Benny Goodman Story, and Orson Welles’ 'Touch of Evil'. Mancini's scores frequently straddled the line between jazz and Hollywood dramatics, making his music both distinctive and influential.

In 1958, Mancini left Universal International to work as an independent composer and arranger. Later, Mancini scored the TV series ‘Peter Gunn’ for producer, Blake Edwards. The two men had successful relationship spanning over 30 years and more than 25 films including 'The Pink Panther' and 'Breakfast at Tiffany's.'

Awarding Winning Works
In 1961, Mancini won academy awards for Best Original Song, 'Moon River,' in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'; song and arrangement for 'Baby Elephant Walk' in the 1962 film, 'Hatari'; for 'Days of Wine and Roses'; and for Nino Rota's love theme in 'Romeo and Juliet.'

For the next three decades, Mancini was successful as a film composers and concert conductor. He conducting over 50 engagements a year and over 600 symphony performances during his lifetime. He conducted nearly all of the leading symphonies including: the London Symphony Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the Boston Pops, the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Working with other Artists
Mancini appeared in 1966, 1980 and 1984, in command performances for the Royal Family. He toured with Johnny Mathis and Andy Williams, who had sung many of Mancini's songs. Mancini also collaborated with artists like, Sir James Galway and Luciano Pavarotti.

Mancini wrote two books: ‘Sounds and Scores’ – 'A Practical Guide to Professional Orchestration' and his 1989 autobiographic ‘Did They Mention The Music?’

Awards and Recognitions
In 1994, Mancini received UCLA’s most prestigious award, The Distinguished Artist Circle Award. He also was bestowed with four honorary doctorate degrees from: Duquesne University of Pennsylvania, Mount Saint Mary’s College in Maryland, Washington and Jefferson College in Pennsylvania, and the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.

Mancini had over 40 albums for RCA and 20 Grammy Awards, 7 gold records and 4 Oscars. His feats have been outstanding.

Mancini’s love of music and support of young musicians is evident in the scholarships and fellowships he established at top music schools. Many future composers, conductors and arrangers have benefited from Mancini programs at: Juilliard School of Music, UCLA, USC and at The American Federation of Music’s ‘VCongress of Strings.’ The bulk of his library and works are archived at UCLA music library.

Legacy and Honours
In 1994, Mancini made a one-off cameo appearance in the sitcom series, Frasier where moments after, Frasier's radio broadcast played 'Moon River'. Shortly after, on June 14, 1994, Henry Mancini passed away in Los Angeles.

On April 14, 2004, the United States Post Office issued a commemorative stamp as a tribute to the prominent compositions of Mancini. He was honored with a Hollywood Walk of Fame star at 6821 Hollywood Boulevard.

Marriage and Family
Henry Mancini married Virginia O'Connor on September 13, 1947, and they had: son, Christopher, and twin daughters, Monica and Felice. Monica Mancini, is a professional singer and Felice runs, The Mr. Holland's Opus Foundation (MHOF). Their son, Christopher is a music publisher and promoter in Los Angeles.

Mancini was more interested in sports than music, but his father was adamant that he practice regularly.

Mancini’s musical talent was confirmed by his becoming first flutist in the Pennsylvania All-State Band in 1937 at the age of 13.

He was fond of Glenn Miller’s music. He began playing in local dance bands and memorized all of Miller’s arrangements.

Mancini’s father took 8 year-old Henry to the cinema for the first time. 'I knew right then I wanted to write music for movies,' Mancini said.

Mancini never took his achievements for granted. He said, 'I have never trusted this thing called success; I have always been skeptical about it,'

Mancini was a major figure in American music from 1954 until his death. As a professional musician, Mancini was known to be modest and unpretentious.

He spear-headed a change in film scoring, replacing the use of symphonic arrangements with elements of jazz, tin pan alley, and popular music.

Although he wrote classic songs such as 'Moon River" and 'Charade' Mancini never considered himself a songwriter.

With the new technology that keeps entering the media, Mancini believed that the real creative power is in the mind and heart of the composer.

For many years after striking it rich hMancini was still composing on a rented piano.

"If you want to make money in music, get into the band uniform business."

"With the new technology that keeps entering the media, film composers are constantly being placed in new learning situations. Acknowledging this and realizing that one must keep up, I maintain, nonetheless, that the real creative power is in the mind and heart of the composer."

"Develop interest in life as you see it; in people, things, literature, music. The world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself."

"Love cannot endure indifference. It needs to be wanted like a lamp, it needs to be fed out of the oil of another’s heart, or its flame burns low."

"I never knew how to worship until I knew how to love."

"Love must be as much a light, as it is a flame."

"A Rose will blow and then it will fade, so does youth and the fairest."

"So, for me, a good melody is not just a pretty tune."

"I’m Henry in real life, I’m Dunhill Guy for Dunhill Fragrance things, and I’m Charles Brandon on The Tudors. But Henry is the most important of the three, and sometimes he likes to get dressed up and sometimes he doesn’t."

"My mom was an amazing singer and music was a big part of my life, so I grew up listening to Nat King Cole, Johnny Mathis, Henry Mancini; I used to watch ‘The Andy Williams Show’ on TV. I was very musical, so I was watching stuff that most kids my age wouldn’t be interested in."


The award-winning composer, Henry Mancini was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and on June 14, 1994, he passed away aged 70, at his home in Los Angeles, California. Mancini was survived by his wife of 43 years, singer Virginia 'Ginny' O'Connor, and son, Christopher, and twin daughters, Monica and Felice.

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