1909 - 1976
Johnny Mercer, Academy Award winning songwriter, died June 25, 1976. He was 66.
Mercer was born November 18, 1909 in Savannah, Georgia. He began a show business career in the late 1920ís, appearing in small roles until he tried his hand at songwriting.
Collaboration with Everett Miller on two songs, Out of Breath and Scared to Death of You, were included in the 1930 musical, Garrick Gaities. They were well received and Mercerís career as a lyricist was born.
In 1934, he became master of ceremonies and featured vocalist for Paul Whitemanís orchestra. Mercer began writing songs for Bing Crosby, and in 1939 he joined Benny Goodmanís band.
Mercer developed his own radio show, and in 1942 co-founded Capitol Records that helped spawn the careers of many artists, including Peggy Lee and Nat King Cole.
The 1940ís were a prolific one for Mercer. He worked with several composers to produce hit songs for a number of musicals, including St. Louis Woman, and The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe with Harry Warren, the latter winning an Academy Award for Best Song.
Mercer went on to win three more Best Song Academy Awards for In the Cool, Cool of the Evening with Harry Warren in 1951, Moon River with Henry Mancini in 1961, and Days of Wine and Roses with Mancini in 1962.
In all, Mercer wrote lyrics for over 1,100 songs, including That Old Black Magic, Iím An Old Cowhand, You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby, and Jeepers Creepers.
He was the first president of the Songwriterís Hall of Fame. Mercer died in Bel Air, California on June 25, 1976.