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{ Cast & Crew: Melissa Manchester }

Melissa Manchester (February 15, 1951 - ) is an American singer/actress born in The Bronx, New York. Her father was a bassoonist for the Metropolitan Opera while her mother had her own clothing firm (Ruth Manchester Ltd.). Melissa loved poetry and began publishing work at the age of 15. After graduating high school, she attended New York University and took a songwriting class taught by musician Paul Simon. Chappell Music hired her as a staff writer while she performed in clubs of Greenwich Village. Meeting Bette Midler during her performances allowed a chance of a lifetime to perform as her back-up singer at Carnegie Hall.

In 1980, Melissa appeared as a guest star on "The Muppet Show" (Season 5, Episode 512) where she performed "Don't Cry Out Loud," "Whenever I Call You Friend," and "Your Cheatin' Heart." She also became the first artist in the Academy Awards to have two movie themes nominated: "Through the Eyes of Love" and "The Promise." But it was in 1982 when she finally received a Grammy Award for Best Female Vocalist for her biggest hit, "You Should Hear How She Talks About You." That same year she married Kevin De Remer, a writer for "Fame," a TV series in which she made a few appearances in. Melissa combined her acting and singing talents in starring roles such as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "Song And Dance" and "Music Of The Night."

By 1985, Melissa soon found her way into performing for animation when Disney hired her for their 26th feature, The Great Mouse Detective. Melissa took on the role of Miss Kitty Mouse whom performs the song, "Let Me Be Good To You" to a bunch of ruffians in a London pub. According to The Internet Movie Database, Madonna was originally chosen to sing that song, followed by Liza Minnelli, but the directors decided to go with a more contemporary performer.

Melissa continued with acting in the 1990's, appearing as Maddy Russo on the TV series, "Blossom," and working again with Bette Midler in the 1991 film For The Boys. She also returned to animation to guest appear in TV shows like, "Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man," "Captain Planet and the Planeteers," and "Batman: The Animated Series." Meanwhile in 1998, Melissa released her first Christmas album titled "Joy." The New York Times called it “A heartfelt Christmas album that sounds classic on first listen." During Operation Desert Storm in 1991, Melissa was one of the choir members for "Voices That Care" (written by David Foster, Linda Thompson and Peter Cetera).

Disney was pleased to work with Melissa again in 2001 when she composed the score for their direct-to-video sequel, Lady and the Tramp II: Scamp's Adventure (produced by DisneyToon Studios). In yet another career first, she wrote the musical "I Sent A Letter To My Love," based on the Bernice Rubens novel of the same name. She performed the leading role in a National Public Radio broadcast and the staged musical premiered in Boston at the North Shore Music Theatre in 2002.

Melissa returned to the stage in 2007 when she co-starred with Kelsey Grammer (“Frasier”) in Stephen Sondheim’s "Sweeney Todd" at The Ahmanson Theater in Los Angeles, and she recently starred in the Chicago premiere of "HATS!" a new musical that contains several songs she co-wrote with Sharon Vaughn.

Most recently, nine of her songs were highlighted in the 2010 film Dirty Girl including the original theme song “Rainbird” which she recorded/co-wrote with the movie’s star, Mary Steenburgen. Melissa has received the Governor’s Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for her contributions to the music and recording arts. Her body of work to date was also a featured exhibit at the Lyman Allyn Art Museum.

The photo of Melissa is from a screen cap from "The Making of The Great Mouse Detective" featurette. Biographical information provided by The Official Melissa Manchester Website, Internet Movie Database and Wikipedia.