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Johnny Mercer Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (20) | Personal Quotes (2)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 18 November 1909Savannah, Georgia, USA
Date of Death 25 June 1976Los Angeles, California, USA  (brain cancer)
Birth NameJohn Herndon Mercer

Mini Bio (1)

Johnny Mercer started his career as singer and songwriter for Paul Whiteman. He started writing songs for Hollywood in 1935, where he also had a few small parts in musicals. Among his famous songs is the inoffical anthem of Hollywood, "Hooray For Hollywood" that he wrote for the movie "Hollywood Hotel". He also had radio programs and made records, some with Bing Crosby.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Stephan Eichenberg <eichenbe@fak-cbg.tu-muenchen.de>

Spouse (1)

Ginger Mehan (8 June 1931 - 25 June 1976) (his death) (2 children)

Trivia (20)

Pictured on one of a set of four 32ยข US commemorative postage stamps in the Legends of American Music series, issued 11 September 1996, celebrating American songwriters. Others honored in this issue are Harold Arlen, Dorothy Fields, and Hoagy Carmichael.
1942: Co-founded Capitol Records with songwriter Buddy G. DeSylva and businessman Glenn Wallichs. Sold out in 1955 to EMI. Mercer used part of the proceeds to repay his father's debts that resulted from the Florida real estate bust and the Great Depression. Mercer and DeSylva also founded Cowboy Records (Philadelphia, PA) in 1942.
One of the legendary figures in the Great American Songbook, his work as a lyricist, and occasionally composer and lyricist, has produced such standards as "Skylark," "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" (music by Hoagy Carmichael), "Blues in the Night," "One For My Baby," "My Shining Hour" (music by Harold Arlen), "Moon River," "Days of Wine and Roses," "Charade," "The Sweetheart Tree," "Moment to Moment," "Whistling in the Dark" (music by Henry Mancini), "On the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa Fe" (music by Harry Warren), "Life Is What You Make It" (music by Marvin Hamlisch), "Jamboree Jones," "Dream," "Something's Gotta Give," and "I Wanna Be Around" (music and lyrics by Mercer).
Graduate of Woodberry Forest School, Orange, Virginia (1927)
Two children, Amanda and John Jeff
Was posthumously nominated for Broadway's 1983 Tony Award for his original lyrics for Gene de Paul's original music and score, with additional, new music and lyrics by Al Kasha and Joel Hirschhorn, for "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers."
Best known during WWII for his hit, "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate The Positive." Mercer would become the premier American lyricist in post-War America.
His music is featured prominently in the both the book and film: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997), which was set in his birthplace Savannah, Georgia.
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971.
He adopted a son, John Jefferson "Jeff" Mercer in 1947. He was born April 5, 1947.
He adopted Norma Claire Barnes in April, 1940 and renamed her Amanda "Mandy" Mercer. She had been born May 12, 1939. Paul Whiteman's wife arranged the adoption.
Circa 1940, he wrecked his car, breaking his wife's jaw. After it healed, it was distorted and made her face appear different.
His grandchildren called him Beebah and called his wife Granginger.
He had an on-off affair with Judy Garland.
His daughter married Bob Corwin, his musical stenographer and accompanist, in 1960.
He had a grandson, Jim Corwin, who was born in 1961.
A non-song writer fan of Mercer's named Sadie Vimmerstedt once wrote him a letter saying that "I Wanna Be Around to Pick Up the Pieces When Somebody Breaks Your Heart" would make a good title for a song. Mercer was so taken by the suggested title that he went ahead and wrote a complete song based on it which became a big hit and of which he gave Ms. Vimmerstedt half the royalties.
Mercer began Capitol Records for $25,000 and sold it thirteen years later to EMI for $20 million.
Mercer misjudged his own song "Moon River" from "Breakfast at Tiffany's," believing it had no commercial value. However, it went on to become one of his most-recorded songs and won him one of his four Oscars.
Mercer's Oscar loss in 1941 for writing the title song for "Blues in the Night" brought about a change in the Academy's rules governing Best Song nominations. The song that ended up winning, "The Last Time I Saw Paris" by Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II, was not written for the movie it appeared in, "Lady Be Good," but was inserted in order to pay tribute to France's war effort. Bcause of the uproar about of Mercer's loss, the rules now stated that a song had to be originally created specifically for the film in which it appeared. Mercer did receive four other Oscars in his illustrious career.

Personal Quotes (2)

[on Tin Pan Alley from the 'twenties forward] Cole Porter is definitive of an era. He IS those years, you know? He is the style of all those shows, all that period. He represents it better than anybody else, better even than Kern or Berlin. Porter's so...thirties!
Hollywood was never much of a night town. Everybody had to get up too early... The movie people were in bed with the chickens (or each other) long before curfew.

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