Merrill was born Henry Levan in Atlantic City, New Jersey and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Following a stint with the Army during World War II, he moved to Hollywood, California, where he worked as a dialogue director for Columbia Pictures. He began his songwriting career writing tunes for Dorothy Shay. One of his first major hits was the 1950 novelty song "If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake", co-written with Al Hoffman and Clem Watts and recorded by Eileen Barton.
His two most famous songs were "(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window?" a huge hit for Patti Page and "Mambo Italiano" recorded by Rosemary Clooney.
Bob wrote a string of chart hits including "Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania", "Love Makes the World Go 'Round", and "Honeycomb", as recorded by Jimmy Rodgers. In addition, he wrote "Tina Marie" for Perry Como and "Make Yourself Comfortable" as recorded by Sarah Vaughan.
Guy Mitchell recorded many of Bob's songs including "Sparrow in the Tree Top", "She Wears Red Feathers (And a Huly Huly Skirt)", and "Truly, Truly Fair",
Merrill made his Broadway debut in 1957 with New Girl in Town, a musical adaptation of Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie. His greatest theatrical success was the Barbra Streisand vehicle Funny Girl, based on the life of Fanny Brice, which introduced the standard "People" and "Don't Rain On My Parade". When the stage show was adapted for the screen, he and songwriting partner Jule Styne were asked to write a title tune, which eventually garnered them both Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for Best Song entitled "Funny".
Merrill's other Broadway credits include Take Me Along (1959), Carnival! (1961), Breakfast at Tiffany's (1966), Henry, Sweet Henry (1967), Sugar (1972), and The Red Shoes (1993). He also wrote the book and lyrics for the Angela Lansbury vehicle Prettybelle (1971) and the music and lyrics for the Robert Preston musical The Prince of Grand Street (1978), both of which closed during their Boston tryouts. He was nominated for the Tony Award eight times, but never won.
Merrill's screenwriting credits include Mahogany (1975), W.C. Fields and Me (1976), and the television movies Portrait of a Showgirl (1982) and The Animated Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1998).
Among Merrill's television credits were two Christmas specials, the classic Mister Magoo's Christmas Carol and The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood, written specifically for Liza Minnelli.
Merrill became progressively ill in the mid-1990s and took his own life on February 17, 1998 at the age of 76.
Compositions recorded by Guy Mitchell
- Chicka Boom
- Feet Up (Pat Him on the Po-Po)
- Look At That Girl
- My Truly, Truly Fair
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- She Wears Red Feathers
- Sparrow in the Treetop
- Bob Merrill at the Internet Movie Database
- Bob Merrill at the Internet Broadway Database
- Bob Merrill at the Songwriters Hall of Fame
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Bob Merrill. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|