Jimmy Van Heusen
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|Jimmy Van Heusen|
|Birth name||Edward Chester Babcock|
January 26, 1913|
Syracuse, New York, United States
|Died||February 6, 1990(aged 77)|
James "Jimmy" Van Heusen (January 26, 1913 – February 6, 1990), was an American composer. He wrote songs for films, television and theater, and won an Emmy and four Academy Awards for Best Original Song.
Life and career 
Born Edward Chester Babcock in Syracuse, New York, he began writing music while at high school. He renamed himself at age 16, after the famous shirt makers, Phillips-Van Heusen, to use as his off-air name during local shows. His close friends called him "Chet."
Studying at Cazenovia Seminary and Syracuse University, he became friends with Jerry Arlen, the younger brother of Harold Arlen. With the elder Arlen's help, Van Heusen wrote songs for the Cotton Club revue, including "Harlem Hospitality."
Collaborating with lyricist Eddie DeLange, on songs such as "Heaven Can Wait", "So Help Me", and "Darn That Dream", his work became more prolific, writing over 60 songs in 1940 alone. It was in 1940 that he teamed up with the lyricist Johnny Burke.
Burke and Van Heusen moved to Hollywood writing for stage musicals and films throughout the 1940s and early 1950s, winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song for "Swinging on a Star" (1944). Their songs were also featured in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949).
Van Heusen then teamed up with lyricist Sammy Cahn. Their three Academy Awards for Best Song were won for "All the Way" (1957) from The Joker Is Wild, "High Hopes" (1959) from A Hole in the Head, and "Call Me Irresponsible" (1963) from Papa's Delicate Condition. Their songs were also featured in Ocean's Eleven (1960) and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964), which featured the Oscar-nominated "My Kind of Town."
Cahn and Van Heusen also wrote "Love and Marriage" (1955), "To Love and Be Loved", "Come Fly with Me", "Only the Lonely", and "Come Dance with Me" with many of their compositions being the title songs for Frank Sinatra's albums of the late 1950s.
Van Heusen wrote the music for five Broadway musicals: Swingin' the Dream (1939); Nellie Bly (1946),Carnival in Flanders (1953), Skyscraper (1965), and Walking Happy (1966). While Van Heusen did not achieve nearly the success on Broadway that he did in Hollywood, at least three songs from Van Heusen musicals can legitimately be considered standards - "Darn That Dream" from Swingin' the Dream; "Here's that Rainy Day" from Carnival in Flanders and "I Only Miss Her When I Think of Her" from "Skyscraper".
He became an inductee of the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971.
Van Heusen composed over 800 plus songs of which 50 songs became standards. Van Heusen songs are featured in over one hundred eighty films.
Life and Times 
Although not considered handsome by conventional standards, Van Heusen was known to be quite a ladies man. James Kaplan from his book: Frank The Voice wrote, "He played piano beautifully, wrote gorgeously poignant songs about romance...he had a fat wallet, he flew his own plane; he never went home alone." Van Heusen was once described by Angie Dickinson, "You would not pick him over Clark Gable any day, but his magnetism was irresistible." In his 20's he began to shave his head when he started losing his hair, a practice ahead of its time. He once said "I would rather write songs than do anything else -- even fly." Kaplan also reported that he was a "hypochondriac of the first order" who kept a Merck manual at his bedside, injected himself with vitamins and painkillers, and had surgical procedures for ailments real and imagined."
It was Van Heusen who rushed Sinatra to the hospital after Sinatra, in despair over the breakup of his marriage to Ava Gardner, slashed one of his wrists in a failed suicide attempt in November 1953. However, this event was never mentioned by Van Heusen in any radio or print interviews given by him.
Van Heusen married for the first time in 1969, at age 56, and retired in the late 1970s. He died in Rancho Mirage, California in 1990 from complications following a stroke, at the age of 77. His wife, Bobbe, survived him. Van Heusen is buried in the Sinatra family burial plot in Desert Memorial Park, in Cathedral City, California. His grave marker reads Swinging On A Star.
Academy Awards 
- Academy Award Wins
- "Swinging on a Star" (1944) (lyrics by Johnny Burke) for Going My Way
- "All the Way" (1957) (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for The Joker Is Wild
- "High Hopes" (1959) (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for A Hole in the Head
- "Call Me Irresponsible" (1963) (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for Papa's Delicate Condition
- Academy Award nominations
- 1945 – "Sleighride In July" (lyrics by Johnny Burke) from the film Belle Of The Yukon.
- 1945 – "Aren't You Glad You're You" (lyrics by Johnny Burke) from the film Bells of St. Mary's.
- 1955 – "(Love Is) The Tender Trap" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) introduced by Frank Sinatra in the film The Tender Trap.
- 1958 – "To Love and Be Loved" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Some Came Running.
- 1960 – "The Second Time Around" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film High Time.
- 1961 – "Pocketful of Miracles" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Pocketful of Miracles.
- 1964 – "Where Love Has Gone" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Where Love Has Gone.
- 1964 – "My Kind of Town" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Robin and the 7 Hoods.
- 1967 – "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Thoroughly Modern Millie.
- 1968 – "Star" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Star!.
Emmy Award 
Other awards 
He was also nominated for 3 Tony awards:
- Best Musical in 1966 for Skyscraper
- Best Musical in 1967 for Walking Happy
- Best Composer and Lyricist in 1967 Walking Happy
He was nominated three times for a Golden Globe Award.
- 1965 – "Where Love Has Gone" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Where Love Has Gone
- 1968 – "Thoroughly Modern Millie" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Thoroughly Modern Millie.
- 1969 – "Star" (lyrics by Sammy Cahn) for the film Star!.
He won one Christoper Award in 1955 for the song "Love and Marriage".
- Bob Hope's character in The Road to Hong Kong (1962) is named Chester Babcock, in reference to Van Heusen's birth name.
The bridge section of Paul Desmond's iconic jazz anthem, "Take Five" is a direct homage to Van Heusen's "Sunday, Monday or Always".
With lyricist Sammy Cahn 
- "Ain't That a Kick in the Head"
- "All My Tomorrows"
- "All the Way"
- "Call Me Irresponsible"
- "Come Dance with Me"
- "Come Fly with Me"
- "Eee-O Eleven"
- "Everybody Has the Right to Be Wrong!"
- "High Hopes"
- "I'll Only Think of Her When I Miss Her"
- "Incurably Romantic"
- "Last Dance"
- "Let's Make Love"
- "Love and Marriage"
- "(Love Is) The Tender Trap"
- "My Kind of Town
- "Only the Lonely"
- "The Second Time Around"
- "The Secret of Christmas"
- "September of My Years"
- "Sleigh Ride in July"
- "There's Love and There's Love and There's Love"
- "To Love and Be Loved"
- "Where Love Has Gone"
- "Who Was That lady?"
With lyricist Johnny Burke 
- "Aren't You Glad You're You?"
- "But Beautiful"
- "Busy Doing Nothing"
- "Going My Way"
- "Here's That Rainy Day" (from Carnival in Flanders)
- "It Could Happen to You"
- "It's Always You"
- "Like Someone in Love"
- "Moonlight Becomes You"
- "Oh! You Crazy Moon"
- "Polka Dots and Moonbeams"
- "Sunday, Monday, or Always"
- "Swinging on a Star"
- "You May Not Love Me"
With lyricist Eddie DeLange 
- "All This and Heaven Too"
- "Darn That Dream"
- "Deep in a Dream"
- "Heaven Can Wait"
- "Shake Down The Stars"
- "So Help Me"
With others 
- "Far Away" (lyrics by David Kapp)
- "I Could Have Told You" (lyrics by Carl Sigman)
- "I Thought About You" (lyrics by Johnny Mercer)
- "It's the Dreamer in Me" (lyrics by Jimmy Dorsey)
- "Nancy (With the Laughing Face)" (lyrics by Phil Silvers)
- "Not as a Stranger" (lyrics by Buddy Kaye)
- It's 1200 miles from Palm Springs to Texas
- Palm Springs Cemetery District, "Interments of Interest"
- "Jimmy Van Heusen Collection of Musical Works and Papers". UCLA Libraries. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
- "Academy Awards Database, Jimmy Van Heusen". Oscars.org. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
- "Best Musical Contribution - 1956". Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved July 26, 2012.
- OCLC 498384972
- James Kaplan (2010). Frank: The Voice, Pages 49,666-669.
- Wilfred Sheed (2007). The House That George Built, "Jimmy Van Heusen: On The Radio With Bing and Frank" Pages 225-251.
- Berry, David Carson (2000). “The Popular Songwriter as Composer: Mannerisms and Design in the Music of Jimmy Van Heusen,” Indiana Theory Review 21, 1-51.
- Alec Wilder (1990). American Popular Song, "The Great Craftsmen: Jimmy Van Heusen" Pages 442-451.
- William Ruhlmann (2001). "Van Heusen, James “Jimmy” (originally, Babcock, Edward Chester)." Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of Musicians. Gale. Retrieved January 9, 2013 from HighBeam Research
- Jimmy Van Heusen Website
- Songwriters Hall Of Fame Website
- Internet Movie Database listing
- Internet Broadway Database listing
- New York Times Obituary, February 8, 1990
- Jimmy Van Heusen Gravesite Information
- Jimmy Van Heusen at Find a Grave - buried in the Sinatra family plot