Obituary: Mack David

Mack David, lyricist and composer: born New York City 5 July 1912; married (one son, one daughter); died Rancho Mirage, California 30 December 1993.

'DURING my New York boyhood, Mack was here to learn from,' the lyricist Hal David said of his elder brother Mack. Unlike the better known Hal, Mack David never won an Oscar, although he was nominated for the Best Song statuette eight times. He wrote or co-wrote 'A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes', 'Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White', 'The Call of the Faraway Hills' (the theme from Shane), 'My Own True Love' (based on 'Tara's Theme' from Gone with the Wind), 'I Don't Care if the Sun Don't Shine' and 'The Un-Birthday Song' from Walt Disney's Alice in Wonderland (1951). His collaborators included Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Henry Mancini, Burt Bacharach Elmer Bernstein - even Tchaikovsky.

Mack David originally wanted to be a lawyer, and studied at St John's Law School but, like Cole Porter, Hoagy Carmichael and Arthur Schwartz before him, forsook law for music.

He had his first big song hit in 1939, when he joined forces with Andre Kostelanetz and (perhaps to confuse the record books) Mack Davis to adapt the slow theme of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony into the much-recorded 'Moon Love'. Without Davis, David and Kostelanetz turned again to Tchaikovsky the following year, deriving 'On the Isle of May' from his String Quartet in D Major. The 1940s saw such Mack David hits as 'Sweet Eloise' (1942) 'Candy' (1944), 'I'm Just a Lucky So and So' (written with Duke Ellington in 1946) and the nonsense lullaby 'Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba' (1947).

David received his first Oscar nomination for 'Bibbidy-Bobbidy-Boo', which he, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston wrote for Disney's Cinderella (1950). David was also nominated for the title-songs from The Hanging Tree (1959), Bachelor in Paradise (1961), Walk on the Wild Side (1962), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), and for 'The Ballad of Cat Ballou' (1965) and 'My Wishing Doll' from Hawaii (1966). He wrote title-songs for 77 Sunset Strip and Caspar the Friendly Ghost on television and the English lyrics for 'Lili Marlene', and 'La Vie en Rose'. Barbara Mandrell recorded his 'To Me' (1983) and 'Happy Birthday, Dear Heartache' (1984), both of which reached the Top 10 Country chart.

David's most remunerative song was 'Sunflower' (1948), for which he wrote both words and music. it was recorded by the Russ Morgan band, Frank Sinatra and others, and was selected as the state song of Kansas. In 1964 he sued his fellow composer Jerry Herman, claiming that the main four-bar theme of Herman's song 'Hello, Dolly' was the same as that of 'Sunflower'. David received a reputed out-of-court settlement of dollars 250,000.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: Multiple Apprentices Required

£6240 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Apprentices are required to join a privat...

Sauce Recruitment: HR Manager

£40000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: This is an exciting opportunity for a HR...

Ashdown Group: Interim HR Manager - 3 Month FTC - Henley-on-Thames

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A well-established organisation oper...

Recruitment Genius: HR Advisor

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our Client has been the leader ...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project