Music Composer, Academy Award Winner. He is best remembered as half of a songwriting duo with Ray Evans that specialized in songs composed for films. He composed the music and Evans penned the lyrics. Born Jacob Harold Levison of Jewish parents, he studied piano and worked as a musician at local clubs while still in high school. He attended the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where he organized a dance band and met Evans, a fellow student in the band, and their professional collaboration began in 1937. After graduating from college, the two tried their hand at songwriting in New York City, New York. He worked as a piano accompanist and musical arranger at NBC and also worked as a rehearsal pianist for Olsen and Johnson's famed 1938 Broadway revue, "Hellzapoppin", which later incorporated the Livingston and Evans tune, "G'bye Now". It was their first major sale, and the song quickly became a top 10 hit for Horace Heidt's orchestra. They subsequently contributed to "Sons o'Fun", which opened at the Winter Garden theatre on December 1, 1941. After the US entry into World War II, he joined the US Army and served for two years. In 1944 he and Evans moved to Hollywood, California and resumed their musical collaboration. They found employment with a small studio called Production Releasing Corporation and provided songs for the films, "Swing Hostess" (1944), "I Accuse My Parents" (1944), "Why Girls Leave Home" (1944), and "Crime, Inc" (1945). They also wrote the song "Stuff Like That There" (1944) which actress and singer Betty Hutton turned into a juke box favorite. However, their big break came when they wrote the title song to the new Olivia de Havilland film, "To Each His Own." Although it was not sung in the picture, Eddy Howard's recording of it became immensely popular and for one week, five versions were listed on Billboard's Top Ten list. He and Evans won the Academy Award for Best Original Song three times, or the song "Buttons and Bows", written for the movie "The Paleface" (1948), in 1950 for the song "Mona Lisa", written for the movie "Captain Carey, U.S.A." (1950), and in 1956 for the song "Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," featured in the Alfred Hitchcock movie thriller "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956) and performed by actress Doris Day. Their other popular tunes include the Christmas song "Silver Bells" for the film "The Lemon Drop Kid" (1951), "Tammy's in Love" for the film "Tammy and the Bachelor" (1957, sung by actress Debbie Reynolds), and "Never Let Me Go" for the film "The Scarlet Hour" (1956). He and Evans also wrote popular TV themes for shows including "Bonanza", "Mr. Ed", and "To Rome with Love" as well as the Broadway musicals "Oh, Captain! (1958), "Let It Ride" (1961), and "Sugar Babies" (1979). He died at the age of 86. He is an inductee in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Bio by: William Bjornstad
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Alan Wendell Livingston
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