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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 10 October 1908New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 15 May 1989Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA
Birth NameJohn Waldo Green

Mini Bio (2)

Composer-pianist-arranger Johnny Green was born in Far Rockaway, New York. The son of musical parents, Green was accepted by Harvard at the age of 15, and entered the University in 1924. Between semesters, bandleader Guy Lombardo heard his Harvard Gold Coast Orchestra and hired him to create dance arrangements for his nationally famous orchestra. He gained a thorough education in music, history, economics, and government before returning to pursue a master's degree in the field of English literature. His father interrupted Johnny's education and forced him to become a stockbroker, and with great unhappiness, Johnny tried it for six months. His young bride Carol (to whom he dedicated Out of Nowhere) encouraged him to leave Wall Street and cultivate his many musical talents. She remarked, "We didn't have children, we had songs" (indeed, it was during his first marriage that most of his hit standards were composed, including "I Cover the Waterfront," You're Mine, You," "Easy Come, Easy Go," "Rain Rain Go Away" and "I Wanna Be Loved."). During the lean years, he arranged for dance orchestras, most notably Jean Goldkette on NBC. He was accompanist/arranger to stars such as James Melton, Libby Holman and Ethel Merman. It was while writing material for Gertrude Lawrence that he composed Body and Soul, the first recording of which was made by Jack Hylton and His Orchestra, eleven days before the song was copyrighted. 'Nathaniel Shilkret' and Paul Whiteman commissioned him to write larger works for orchestra, and he scored numerous films at Paramount's Astoria Studios. He conducted in East Coast theatres and toured vaudeville as musical director for Buddy Rogers. During his two-and-a-half years at Paramount Studios, he was able to learn more about arranging from veterans Adolph Deutsch and Frank Tours. In 1934, he returned from London, where he had composed a musical comedy for Jack Buchanan. At the age of 25, he had several hit songs under his belt. William Paley, the president of the Columbia Broadcasting System and an investor in New York's St. Regis Hotel, encouraged John W. Green to form what became known as Johnny Green, His Piano and Orchestra. (Green added, "My arm didn't need much twisting.") His orchestra made dance records for the Columbia and Brunswick companies, in a depressed era when record sales were inconsequential to a song's popularity. In 1935, Green starred on the Socony Sketchbook, sponsored by Socony-Vacuum Oil Co. He lured the young California songstress Virginia Verrill to headline with him on the Friday evening broadcasts. His "regular" cast of vocalists included former débutante Marjory Logan, Jimmy Farrell, and the four Eton Boys, all of whom appeared in films and on stage. Green's piano playing is intricate, and his musical ideas are exceedingly clever. Green was at the top of his field in New York, and he continued conducting on radio and in theatres into the 1940s, until he decided to move to Hollywood and make his mark in the film business. His credits as musical executive, arranger, conductor and composer are lengthy, but include such highlights as Raintree County (1957), Bathing Beauty (1944), Something in the Wind (1947), Easter Parade (1948) (Academy Award), Summer Stock (1950), An American in Paris (1951) (Academy Award), Royal Wedding (1951), High Society (1956) and West Side Story (1961) (Academy Award). Married three times, he had a daughter with actress Betty Furness and two daughters with MGM "Glamazon" Bunny Waters. He was a respected board member of ASCAP and guest conductor with symphonies around the globe, including the Hollywood Bowl, Denver Symphony, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic and more. He was a chairman of the music branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and a producer of television specials.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: pmintun@mac.com

Joining ASCAP in 1931, his chief musical collaborators included Gus Kahn, 'E.Y. Harburg' ("Yip"), Billy Rose, Johnny Mercer, Edward Heyman, Paul Francis Webster, and Mack David. His popular-song compositions include "Body and Soul," "Coquette," "I'm Yours," "Oceans of Time," "Out of Nowhere," "Weep No More My Baby," "I Cover the Waterfront," "An Hour Ago This Minute," "Rain, Rain, Go Away," "Easy Come, Easy Go," "You're Mine, You," "The Steam Is on the Beam," "I've Got a Heavy Date," "I Wanna Be Loved," "Hello, My Lover, Goodbye," "Something in the Wind," "The Turntable Song," and "The Song of Raintree County."

One of his songs, "Body and Soul," was used in the Broadway revue "Three's A Crowd," and his stage scores include "Mr. Whittington" (London) and "Beat the Band" and "Here Goes the Bride" (Broadway).

He had his own radio series, "World of Music," and led the orchestra for several radio programs including Jack Benny's and Philip Morris' shows between 1933 and 1940, and was also accompanist for Ethel Merman, Gertrude Lawrence, and James Melton. In addition, he conducted orchestras for night clubs and recordings and was guest conductor at the Hollywood Bowl, the Denver Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra and the San Francisco Symphony. He conducted the Los Angeles Philharmonic in its Symphonies for Youth and Promenade Concerts between 1959 and 1963, and for the Los Angeles Music Center opening in 1964.

He served as chairman of the Music Board at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was a life member and a member of the Board of Governors.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Hup234!

Spouse (3)

Bunny Waters (20 November 1943 - 15 May 1989) (his death) (2 children)
Betty Furness (26 November 1937 - 1943) (divorced) (1 child)
Carol Falk (29 April 1930 - 22 November 1937) (divorced)

Trivia (8)

Father of Babbie Green and Kathe Green.
Led the Academy Award Orchestra a total of seventeen times on Oscar Nights over the years.
Composer of numerous song standards, most notably "Body and Soul" but also "Coquette," "I Cover the Waterfront," "I'm Yours," "Out of Nowhere" and "Song of Raintree County".
Was the bandleader on The Jack Benny Program (1950) prior to Phil Harris.
Recipient of thirteen Oscar nominations, five of which he actually won.
In the 1940s, along with orchestrator Conrad Salinger, he was one of the musicians most responsible for changing (and, many would say, improving) the overall sound of the M-G-M Orchestra, partially through the re-seating of some of the players. This is why the overall orchestral sound of M-G-M's musicals from the mid 1940s onward is different from the orchestral sound of those made from 1929 until about 1944.
Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972.
Johnny's daughter Kathe was brought in when it was found the singing voice of Mark Lester wasn't quite what was wanted for the song "Where Is Love" in Oliver! (1968).

Personal Quotes (7)

I am interviewed a lot about 'Body and Soul'...and these klutzes say, 'Tell me, when you were writing 'Body and Soul' did you know that you were writing a classic?' I say, 'A classic? What are you talking about? I knew I was writing it for Wednesday.'
[on Frank Sinatra] I ran the gamut with Sinatra from where pictures were concerned he wouldn't work without me to where I got dumped. A hundred percent pro, but he is so mercurial that even a great pro can have trouble with him.
[on Howard Keel] A very special guy. Practically seven feet tall! A virile, manly, western voice. He used to have his voice teacher in at five in the morning when he had an eleven o'clock recording! A frightened guy, but in his way a good performer.
[on Judy Garland] Could there be a better actress than Judy was? She was a real honest to God musical theater performer. Sang like an angel. A great showman. Hell of a dancer and a heart-rending actress!
[on Deanna Durbin] I loved working with her; she was fascinating. She was a good enough actress and still sang like an angel.
[on Julie Andrews] Julie Andrews is the best of the crop. She's got so much talent that it's just not to be believed! I'd rather work with her than almost anybody I know. She doesn't seem to me to have that "everybody's nanny" effect. I think she is very sexy.
[on Fred Astaire] When you talk about Fred Astaire, you talk about heaven! What more can I say?

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