Songwriter, Composer. He was a prolific American songwriter and composer for the Hollywood film industry in the 1930s and 40s. As the composer, he received an Academy Award for Best Original Song for his hit, "Thanks for the Memory," which later became comedian Bob Hope's signature song. Born Ralph Reichenthal, the oldest child, his father William Richenthal, was an Austrian immigrant, who owned a carpet store. His mother Rose Davidson was a Romanian immigrant. The family relocated from New York City to New Jersey shortly after his birth. He adopted the surname Rainger for professional use. On a scholarship, he attended New York's prestigious Damrosch Institute of Music for one year. Under the pressure from his family, he sought a more sensible career, leaving Damrosch Institute of Music to begin working his way through Brown University Law School, graduating in 1926. Within a short time, he changed his career path back to music, accepting Tin Pan Alley jobs as a professional pianist, arranger and accompanist for vaudeville entertainers. He had a professional break when he became part of the team with Edgar Fairchild. The two led the orchestra for the 1928 Broadway production, "Cross My Heart." He received commercial success in 1929 with the song "Moanin' Low," which was in the revue, "The Little Show". In 1930, he paired with Leo Robin for the song "I'll Take an Option on You." After signing a contract with Paramount Studios, he and his partner Robin relocated to Hollywood, where they produced numerous musicals scores for films. Their songs were in seven of Bing Crosby's films. They produced musical scores for "She Done Him Wrong," "She Loves Me Not," "Shoot the Works", "Waikiki Wedding," "Give Me A Sailor," and "Paris Honeymoon" to name a few. In 1933 actress Mae West sung his song "A Guy That Takes His Time." In 1934 the men produced the song "Love in Bloom" for the comedy "She Loves Me Not ," which later became Jack Benny's theme song. For the film "The Big Broadcast of 1938," the two produced Hope's "Thanks for the Memory," with Rainger composing the music and Robin the lyrics, and both receiving an Oscar. In the 1939 film" Gulliver's Travels," their song "Forever Faithful" was an Academy Award nomination. In 1939, the two men left Paramount and signed with 20th Century Fox, where they contributed at least 50 songs to films. In 1941 film "Moon Over Miami," he and Robin were credited with the song "You Started Something." Released in August 1, 1942, the film, "Footlight Serenade," had seven songs he composed, yet he was not named in the film's credits. While a passenger on an American Airlines flight going to New York City, Rainger died when the commercial airplane collided mid-air with a United States Air Corp aircraft on October 23, 1942. The pilot of the military aircraft landed without injuries, but faced charges of manslaughter with the Army court-martial exonerating him. Rainger's partner Robin had headed east by train the night before. He married Elizabeth Kaius on July 3, 1927. Besides his wife, he was survived by three children; a son, age eight and two daughters, aged five and one. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. In November of 2008, a collection of his songs was released on CD as "The Film Music of Ralph Rainger."
Bio by: AJ
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