Sunday, February 7, 2010

Celebrity Grave: Composer Jimmy Van Heusen 1913-1990 RIP

Jimmy Van Heusen (January 26, 1913 - February 7, 1990), was an American composer. He wrote songs for films and television and won four Academy Awards for Best Original Song, and an Emmy.
Life and career

Born Edward Chester Babcock in Syracuse, New York, he began writing music while at high school. He renamed himself at age 16, after the famous shirt makers, Phillips-Van Heusen, to use as his on-air name during a local radio show.

Studying at Cazenovia Seminary and Syracuse University, he became friends with Jerry Arlen, the younger brother of Harold Arlen. With the elder Arlen's help, Van Heusen wrote songs for the Cotton Club revue, including "Harlem Hospitality."

He then became a staff pianist for some of the Tin Pan Alley publishers, and wrote "It's the Dreamer in Me" (1938) with lyrics by Tommy Dorsey.

Collaborating with lyricist Eddie DeLange, on songs such as "Heaven Can Wait", "So Help Me", and "Darn That Dream", his work became more prolific, writing over 60 songs in 1940 alone. It was in 1940 that he teamed up with the lyricist Johnny Burke. Burke and Van Heusen moved to Hollywood writing for stage musicals and films throughout the '40s and early '50s, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Swinging on a Star" (1944). Their songs were also featured in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949).

He was also also a pilot of some accomplishment; he worked, using his birth name, as a part-time test pilot for Lockheed Corporation in World War II.
Van Heusen then teamed up with lyricist Sammy Cahn. Their three Academy Awards for Best Song were won for "All the Way" (1957) from The Joker Is Wild, "High Hopes" (1959) from A Hole in the Head, and "Call Me Irresponsible" (1963) from Papa's Delicate Condition. Their songs were also featured in Rear Window (1954) and Ocean's Eleven (1960).

Cahn and Van Heusen also wrote "Love and Marriage" (1955), "To Love and Be Loved", "Come Fly with Me", "Only the Lonely", and "Come Dance with Me" with many of their compositions being the title songs for Frank Sinatra's albums of the late 50's.
Van Heusen wrote the music for two Broadway musicals: Skyscraper (1965) and Walking Happy (1966).

He became an inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971.

Van Heusen composed over 800 plus songs of which 50 songs became standards. Van Heusen songs are featured in over one hundred eighty films.
Van Heusen retired in the late 1970s, and died in Rancho Mirage, California in 1990, at the age of 77. He was close friends throughout life with Frank Sinatra. He is buried in the Sinatra family burial plot in Desert Memorial Park. His grave marker reads Swinging On A Star.
Academy Awards

Van Heusen was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Song 14 times in 12 different years (in both 1945 and 1964 he was nominated for two songs), and won 4 times: in 1944, 1957, 1959, and 1963.

Academy Award Winners

"Swinging on a Star" (1944) (lyrics by Johnny Burke) for Going My Way
"All the Way" (1957) (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for The Joker Is Wild
"High Hopes" (1959) (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for A Hole in the Head
"Call Me Irresponsible" (1963) (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for Papa's Delicate Condition

Academy Award nominees

1945 – "Sleighride In July" (lyrics by Johnny Burke) from the film Belle Of The Yukon.
1945 – "Aren't You Glad You're You" (lyrics by Johnny Burke) from the film Bells of St. Mary's.
1955 – "(Love Is) The Tender Trap" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) introduced by Frank Sinatra in the film The Tender Trap.
1958 – "To Love and Be Loved"(lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Some Came Running.
1960 – "The Second Time Around" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film High Time.
1961 – "Pocketful of Miracles" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Pocketful of Miracles.
1964 – "Where Love Has Gone" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Where Love Has Gone.
1964 – "My Kind of Town" (lyrics by Sammy Cahnfor the film Robin and the 7 Hoods.
1967 – "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Thoroughly Modern Millie.
1968 – "Star" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Star!.
Emmy Award

He won one Emmy Award for Best Musical Contribution, for the song "Love and Marriage"(1955) (lyrics by Sammy Cahn), written for the 1955 television production of Our Town.

Other Awards

He was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1965 for Best Musical Score Written for a Motion Picture or TV show "Robin and the Seven Hoods"

He was nominated three times for a Golden Globe Award.

1965 – "Where Love Has Gone" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Where Love Has Gone
1968 – "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Thoroughly Modern Millie.
1969 – "Star" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Star!.

Bob Hope's character in The Road to Hong Kong (1962) is named Chester Babcock, in reference to Van Heusen's birth name.

Nikki Hornsby's parents were good friends of Jimmy Van Heusen from the 50s through to the 1970s influencing Nikki Hornsby's own career in music at an early age.


with lyricist Sammy Cahn

"All My Tomorrows"
"All the Way"
"Call Me Irresponsible"
"Come Dance with Me"
"Come Fly with Me"
"Everybody Has The Right To Be Wrong!"
"High Hopes"
"I'll Only Think Of Her When I Miss Her"
"Last Dance"
"Love and Marriage"
"(Love Is) The Tender Trap"
"My Kind of Town
"Only the Lonely"
"The Second Time Around"
"The Secret of Christmas"
"September of My Years"
"Sleigh Ride In July"
"There's Love and There's Love and There's Love"
"To Love And Be Loved"
"Where Love Has Gone"
" Who Was That lady?"
with others

"All This and Heaven Too" (lyrics by Eddie DeLange)
"Aren't You Glad You're You?" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"But Beautiful" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"Busy Doing Nothing" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"Darn That Dream" (lyrics by Eddie DeLange)
"Deep In A Dream" (lyrics by Eddie DeLange)
"Far Away" (lyrics by David Kapp)
"Going My Way" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"Heaven Can Wait" (lyrics by Eddie DeLange)
"Here's That Rainy Day" (from Carnival in Flanders, lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"I Could Have Told You" (lyrics by Carl Sigman)
"I Thought About You"(lyrics by Johnny Mercer)
"Imagination" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"It Could Happen to You" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"It's Always You" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"It's The Dreamer In Me" (lyrics by Jimmy Dorsey)
"Like Someone in Love" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"Moonlight Becomes You" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"Nancy (With the Laughing Face)" (lyrics by Phil Silvers)
"Not As A Stranger" (lyrics by Buddy Kaye)
"Oh! You Crazy Moon" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"Personality" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"Polka Dots and Moonbeams" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"Shake Down The Stars" (lyrics by Eddie DeLange)
"So Help Me" (lyrics by Eddie DeLange)
"Sunday, Monday, Or Always" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)
"Swinging On A Star" (lyrics by Johnny Burke)


Wilfred Sheed (2007). "The House That George Built", "Jimmy Van Heusen: On The Radio With Bing and Frank" Pages 225-251.
Berry, David Carson (2000). “The Popular Songwriter as Composer: Mannerisms and Design in the Music of Jimmy Van Heusen,” Indiana Theory Review 21, 1-51.
Alec Wilder (1990). "American Popular Song", "The Great Craftsmen: Jimmy Van Heusen" Pages 442-451.

-- wiki

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