Skip to comments.Johnny Mandel, Composer Who Wrote ‘MASH’ Theme Song, Dies at 94
Posted on 06/29/2020 11:42:55 PM PDT by Borges
Johnny Mandel, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning songwriter of The Shadow of Your Smile, Emily and the theme from MASH, has died. He was 94.
I was so sad to learn that a hero of mine, Johnny Mandel, passed away, wrote Michael Buble on Twitter. He was a genius and one of my favorite writers, arrangers, and personalities. He was a beast.
A dear friend and extraordinary composer arranger and all-around brilliant talent, Johnny Mandel, just passed away, wrote Michael Feinstein on Facebook. The world will never be quite the same without his humor, wit and wry view of life and the human condition. He was truly beyond compare, and nobody could write or arrange the way he did. Lord will we miss him. Lets celebrate him with his music! He would like that.
Mandel was considered one of the finest arrangers of the second half of the 20th century, providing elegant orchestral charts for a wide range of vocalists including Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee, Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Tony Bennett, Natalie Cole and Hoagy Carmichael.
Mandel scored more than 30 films during his Hollywood career, including the 1960s films The Americanization of Emily (from which the hit song Emily emerged), The Sandpiper (which contained The Shadow of Your Smile, earning an Oscar and a Grammy for Song of the Year along with lyricist Paul Francis Webster), Harper, An American Dream (which included the Oscar-nominated song A Time for Love), The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming and Point Blank.
In 1970 he scored MASH, which required a song that he cobbled together from a lyric by director Robert Altmans 15-year-old son Michael. That tune, Suicide Is Painless, later became, in instrumental form, the theme for the long-running TV series and one of his most famous works.
His later film scores included Summer Wishes, Winter Dreams, The Last Detail, The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With the Sea, Agatha (including the song Close Enough for Love, now a standard), Being There, Caddyshack, Deathtrap and The Verdict.
In addition to the theme from MASH, he composed the themes for TVs Banyon and Too Close for Comfort as well as scores for such series as Markham and Chrysler Theatre. He earned Emmy nominations for his 1980s TV-movie scores A Letter to Three Wives, LBJ: The Early Years and Foxfire. His other telefilms as composer included Evita Peron, Christmas Eve and Kaleidoscope.
RIP old man. Music is less without you.
Big loss for the music world. I will never forget the songs from M*A*S*H -— especially “Suicide Is Painless”.... RIP.
Suicide Is Painless
The music was Mandel’s, the lyrics for that were director Robert Altman’s son - he wanted for his boy to get a cut of the song royalties.
Back when people could argree to disagree. ?
M*A*S*H* - movie theme song - opening>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Thanks for that link.
Brought back many memories.
That was always something of a haunting but lovely song. Thanks for the memory re-boot.
Suicide is Painless - one of the greatest and likely most played themes ever.
Another one of the giants has passed. RIP.
“Painless” was the nickname of the Dentist who wanted to commit suicide because he was a ‘fairy’.
"Oh...Tokyo...They got some sake and sashimi and some clean sheets, Oh, Kimono...Kimono...Kimono..."
That was Loudon Wainwright, if I remember correctly.
Actually Loudon Wainwright III.
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