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{ Cast & Crew: Henry Mancini }

Enrico Nicola Mancini (April 16, 1924 - June 14, 1994), one of the greatest composers in film and television history, began his music career as early as eight years old. Born in Cleveland, Ohio (although brought up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), Mancini's father had him practice the piccolo before he switched to piano lessons at age twelve. After graduating high school in 1942, Mancini moved to the Big Apple to study at the Julliard School of Music. His studies, however, were briefly interrupted when he was drafted into the United States Army.

By 1952, Mancini joined the Universal Pictures music department. Within six years, he contributed to over one hundred movies. Among the memorable film and television scores were: "Peter Gunn," Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961), The Pink Panther (1963) with all of its sequels and animated TV series, The Great Race (1965), and The Party (1968).

Before Mancini composed the haunting as well as sprightly score for The Great Mouse Detective (1986), he would first write the music for another Disney film in 1981 titled, Condorman starring Michael Crawford and Oliver Reed. The film played very much in the style of James Bond, that is, if the double agent was a bumbling comic book writer whom brought his super hero out into the real world. After 'Great Mouse' wrapped production, Mancini continued providing lively scores for films including another Sherlock Holmes spoof titled, Without A Clue (1988) starring Michael Caine and Ben Kingsley.

In 1993, The Son of Pink Panther was Mancini's last film when he lost his battle to pancreatic cancer on June 14, 1994. He was composing for a new musical titled, "Victoria/Victoria," a show he never got to see on the Broadway stage. At the time of his death, Mancini was married 43 years to Virginia O'Connor, having three children together. Today, Mancini's legacy has become a permanent staple in 20th century film and television, where millions of fans are known to hum a few bars from "The Pink Panther Theme" or "Moon River."


The photo of Mancini is from a screen cap from "The Making of The Great Mouse Detective" featurette. Biographical information provided by and Wikipedia.