One of the most successful music composers in the history of television and film returns to center stage next month when the U.S. Postal Service orchestrates a "stamping ovation" to the tune of 80 million commemorative stamps that immortalize the achievements of
"The name Mancini is synonymous with musical style, unforgettable scores, and technical perfection," said Postmaster General John E. Potter. "Henry Mancini set the standard -- in film, television, and concert halls around the world. That's why we're so proud to communicate his many accomplishments through this stamp."
The stamp features a painting by artist Victor Stabin showing Mancini
conducting as the titles of some of his most popular film and television projects appear to scroll over a screen behind him. The Pink Panther in the lower left corner is a further reminder of one of Mancini's popular works.
Potter will officiate the 11 a.m. PT April 13 first-day-of-issue
dedication ceremony at Los Angeles' Music Center Plaza. Scheduled to join Potter are Henry Mancini's wife, Ginny; his daughter Monica; Chairman of the U.S. Postal Service's Board of Governors S. David Fineman, and former U.S. Senator John Glenn (D-Ohio). The free event, open to the public, also includes performances of Mancini's work by world-renowned musician and flutist Sir James Galway and 100 flute players, and the University of Southern California Marching Trojan Band accompanied by none other than the Pink Panther.
The Henry Mancini stamp will be available at the event and at Los Angeles Post Offices April 13, and available at Post Offices and Philatelic Centers nationwide April 14.
"Placing his image on a commemorative postage stamp will serve as a
lasting tribute, just as his music is a lasting gift to the world," said Ginny Mancini.
Mancini, who also was recognized as a popular pianist and concert
conductor, left a rich legacy of catchy TV themes, hit songs and unforgettable film scores, such as "Peter Gunn," "Moon River" and "The Pink Panther." He won many awards, including 20 Grammys and four Oscars, and his albums have sold more than 30 million copies.
Henry Mancini was born in 1924 in Cleveland, Ohio, and named Enrico by his Italian immigrant parents. In the late 1920s, the Mancinis moved to Pennsylvania when Henry's father found work at a steel mill in the Pittsburgh area. Henry learned to play the piccolo from his father, took formal flute and piano lessons, and began writing music arrangements on his own. The fall before his 18th birthday he entered New York's Juilliard School of Music on a scholarship.
At 18, Mancini was drafted into the Army Air Corps and assigned to a
military band led by Norman Leyden. After World War II, Mancini went back to New York, where Leyden, then chief arranger for the reorganized Glenn Miller Orchestra (Miller had died in the war), recommended him for a job. The orchestra's new leader, Tex Beneke, hired him as a pianist. In 1947, Mancini married Ginny O'Connor, a singer with the band, and moved to Burbank, Calif., where he found various jobs performing, composing and arranging music.
In 1952 Mancini wrote music for "Lost in Alaska," an Abbott and Costello film, which led to more work, including arrangements for "The Glenn Miller Story" (1954). One of his earliest complete scores was written in 1957 for "Man Afraid." The next year he scored Orson Welles' "Touch of Evil" and wrote music for "Peter Gunn," a TV drama produced and directed by Blake Edwards.
Mancini's first record album, "The Music from Peter Gunn," sold more than a million copies, a first for a jazz album. It also won two Grammys -- Best Arrangement and Album of the Year -- and made Mancini a recording star.
From the 1950s to the early 1990s, Henry Mancini wrote complete scores for more than 70 films, many of which showed how expressive the jazz form could be. He collaborated with Blake Edwards on several movies, notably "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (1961), "The Pink Panther" (1964), "The Great Race" (1965) and "10" (1979). With other directors, he worked on various films including "Charade" (1963) and "Wait Until Dark" (1967). Mancini also wrote themes for
"Mr. Lucky," "Newhart," "Remington Steele," "Hotel" and other TV shows.
Mancini died in 1994. Each year, in his honor, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers presents the Henry Mancini Award to someone following in his footsteps -- another talented individual who has made outstanding achievements and contributions to the music of film and television.
Mancini's legacy also continues through the work of the Henry Mancini
Institute (HMI). Based in Los Angeles, this nonprofit organization was
established in 1997 by the late composer/arranger Jack Elliott to honor Mancini and nurture the future of music. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Patrick Williams, the HMI provides comprehensive professional training for emerging musicians, along with a range of community outreach programs. For further information, visit http://www.manciniinstitute.org.
Eighty million Henry Mancini self-adhesive 37-cent stamps have been
printed. To see the Mancini stamp, locate the online version of this press release at http://www.usps.com/communications/news/stamps/welcome.htm.