Johnny Mercer was one of the most talented and prolific American composers. He was a giant in the music world, writing alone and collaborating with the top names in the business to produce memorable tunes.
He wrote the lyrics for "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" and "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening," as well as working with Henry Mancini on "Moon River" and "Days of Wine and Roses."
He went to New York in 1929 seeking a stage career but, rebuffed, went to work instead on Wall Street and wrote songs in his spare time.
Mercer once remarked in a not untypical self-deprecating manner, "I tried to be a singer and failed. I tried to be an actor and failed. So I just naturally fell into lyric writing."
His first hit — of some 75 hits — was "Out of Breath, Scared to Death of You," written for "Garrick Gaieties," a musical show.
He had tried to win a role as an actor in the show and toward that end wrote the song. The producers turned him down as an actor but bought his song.
Abandoning his acting ambitions, Mercer began singing in New York cabarets. He joined the Paul Whiteman band, and his duets with trombonist Jack Teagarden contributed to Mercer's growing fame.
He later sang "Lazy Bones" with Bing Crosby and starred on radio's "Your Hit Parade," as well as his own radio show.
He came to Hollywood in 1935 and later gained international recognition with the poetry for "Laura," a theme song for a movie of the same name.
His other film scores included "Here Come the Waves," "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," "Daddy Long Legs" and "Star Spangled Rhythm."
Mercer collaborated with Jerome Kern, Hoagy Carmichael, Gordon Jenkins and a few others whose names are synonymous with music.
"I've been lucky," he said once, "to have been able to collaborate with some of the best songwriters of my generation. I think I've worked with most of them, except Richard Rodgers."
|1938||Best Song||"Jeepers Creepers" from Going Places||Nomination*|
|1940||Best Song||"Love of My Life" from Second Chorus||Nomination*|
|1940||Best Song||"I'd Know You Anywhere" from You'll Find Out||Nomination*|
|1941||Best Song||"Blues in the Night" from Blues in the Night||Nomination*|
|1942||Best Song||"Dearly Beloved" from You Were Never Lovelier||Nomination*|
|1943||Best Song||"My Shining Hour" from The Sky's the Limit||Nomination*|
|1943||Best Song||"That Old Black Magic" from Star Spangled Rhythm||Nomination*|
|1945||Best Song||"Accentuate the Positive" from Here Come the Waves||Nomination*|
|1946||Best Song||"On the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe" from The Harvey Girls||Win*|
|1951||Best Song||"In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" from Here Comes the Groom||Win*|
|1955||Best Song||"Something's Gotta Give" from Daddy Long Legs||Nomination|
|1960||Best Song||"The Facts of Life" from The Facts of Life||Nomination|
|1961||Best Song||"Moon River" from Breakfast at Tiffany's||Win*|
|1962||Best Song||"Days of Wine and Roses" from Days of Wine and Roses||Win*|
|1963||Best Song||"Charade" from Charade||Nomination*|
|1965||Best Song||"The Sweetheart Tree" from The Great Race||Nomination*|
|1970||Best Original Song Score||Darling Lili||Nomination*|
|1970||Best Song||"Whistling Away the Dark" from Darling Lili||Nomination*|
|1971||Best Song||"Life Is What You Make It" from Kotch||Nomination*|