Enrico Nicola “Henry” Mancini was born on April 16, 1924, in the Little Italy neighborhood of Cleveland, Ohio. Both his parents immigrated to the United States from the Abruzzo region of Italy. Henry’s love of music came from his father who loved to play the flute and encouraged his son to take up the instrument when he was eight. Four years later, Henry took up the piano as well. He enrolled in Julliard School of Music in 1942, but was forced to drop out a year later when he was drafted into the Air Force.
After his discharge, Henry joined the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and in 1952 he began working in the Universal-International Studios music department where he created scores for over 100 films. In 1958, he left Universal and began to work as an independent composer. Henry created scores for many different films during his career, including Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Pink Panther series, Charade, Victor/Victoria, and The Glass Menagerie. He also scored music for television shows including Peter Gunn, Late Night with David Letterman, NBC Nightly News, and the theme songs for Newhart and Remington Steele.
Henry married singer Ginny O’Connor in 1946 and the couple had three children together – who all followed their parent’s footsteps and have enjoyed successful musical careers. Henry passed away from pancreatic cancer on June 14, 1994. During his lifetime he was nominated for 72 Grammy Awards (winning 20), 18 Academy Awards (winning four), two Emmy Awards, and won a Golden Globe. Two of Henry’s songs, “Moon River” and “Days of Wine and Roses,” were ranked #4 and #39, respectively, by the American Film Institute (AFI) on its list of “100 Years…100 Songs.” AFI also ranked his score from The Pink Panther #20 on its list of “100 Years of Film Scores.”