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|Born||Melville A. Leven
November 11, 1914
Chicago, Illinois, United States
|Died||December 17, 2007
California, United States
|Occupation||Composer and lyricist|
Melville A. Leven (1914 -2007) known professionally as Mel Leven was an American composer and lyricist who had a long association with the Walt Disney Company, although he wrote songs for Peggy Lee ("Every Time"), The Andrews Sisters ("Commoners Boogy"), Nat King Cole, Dean Martin, and Les Brown, among others.
Leven was born in Chicago and is of Irish descent. His most famous song is arguably "Cruella de Vil" from the 1961 Disney animated feature One Hundred and One Dalmatians. That same year, he also wrote the story and new lyrics to sixteen tunes for the film Babes in Toyland. In later years, he wrote songs, stories, and did voice-over work for the PBS children's series Big Blue Marble, and well as working on a number of projects for television commercials. He also composed "When The Buzzards Return To Hinckley Ridge" for the 1969 Disney animated short, "It's Tough to Be a Bird", which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Short Subject in 1970. The song was sung by comedienne Ruth Buzzi.
Leven was also the original voice of Snoopy, and was in Snap, Crackle, Pop commercials. He also wrote the Little Ranger Nature series for Disney in the 1960s.
A conservationist and talented fly fisherman, in retirement Leven traveled the world in pursuit of fish and became a beloved fixture along Northern California rivers in particular. He features prominently in the 2009 documentary Rivers of a Lost Coast, on the decline of the California steelhead population.
According to his son, Leven died on December 17, 2007. He was 93.
- Trey Combs, Steelhead Fly Fishing: Tackle and Techniques, the Great Rivers, the Anglers and Their Fly Patterns (Guilford, CT: Lyons Press-Globe Pequot Press, 1991), pp. 152-53.
- Bio page from website for film, Rivers of a Lost Coast, dir. Justin Coupe and Palmer Taylor (2009).
- Works written by: LEVEN MELVILLE A at the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
- Mel Leven at the Internet Movie Database
- Mel Leven Biography from Music Theatre International