Henry Mancini was a great film composer, best known for works such as the Pink Panther theme. He won 4 of the 18 Oscars he was nominated for, as well as 20 Grammys and 2 Emmys. He changed the style of film soundtracks, adding an element of jazz to the music.
He was born in 1924 in Ohio to an Italian American family, and christened Enrico Nicola. He got his first break when he sent some musical arrangements to Benny Goodman who offered him a job. After serving in WWII he worked with the Glenn Miller band.
Ginny Mancini was born to an Irish father and Mexican mother and spent her early years traveling with them as they picked cherries in California valley regions. When their marriage failed, she was raised by her Mexican grandmother.
Ginny got her start in music singing with Mel Torme and the Mel-tones. She sang the Jazz notes in the quartet.
Henry and Ginny met just after the Second World War ended , when they both performed with the Tex Beneke orchestra. She was singing and Henry was the group's pianist.They fell in love and were married in 1947
In an interview with All About Jazz Ginny said " It was a marriage made in heaven, that's for sure. We were very young when we got married, but we seemed to be going in the same direction."
She said that Henry was a shy man who had to learn to outgrow his timidity. "I was married to him for forty-seven incredibly wonderful years. He was great, not only as a musician, but just the greatest human being. I've never known anyone quite like Henry, whose temperament was so gentle. He was a gentle giant."
They had three children, twin girls Monica and Felice, and son Christopher. Henry and Ginny were known for their philanthropic works and for their help towards other musicians.
Henry became ill in 1994 and died of pancreatic cancer in June of that year. Ginny is still living at the age of 90.