Henry Nemo

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Henry Nemo (June 8, 1909 – November 26, 1999)[1] was a musician, songwriter and actor in Hollywood films who had a reputation as a hipster and was sometimes referred to as the "creator of jive."[who?] He showcased some of this "jive talk" in a bit part as "The Neem" in the 1947 movie Song of the Thin Man.


Nemo's rare collection of jazz memorabilia documents 1930s music and his days at the Cotton Club, where he wrote the lyrics with Irving Mills and John Redmond for "I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart" (1938), with music by Duke Ellington. In Nemo's historical collection are original photographs which he took at the Cotton Club, plus Cotton Club memorabilia and a 1939 telegram from Ellington to Nemo, written in jive talk.

Band leading[edit]

In 1941, Nemo formed his own 19-piece band. The group featured four Chinese women as singers. Playing on his nickname, "The Neme," the band's slogan was "Hit the Beam With the Neme."[2]

Musical compositions[edit]

Nemo's first hit composition was I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart.[2] He also composed the song standards "Don't Take Your Love From Me" and "'Tis Autumn", both published in 1941. He also composed the incidental music and lyrics for the 1959 Broadway production of Saul Levitt's play The Andersonville Trial, directed by José Ferrer, and starring George C. Scott.[3]

Nemo teamed with numerous music industry music celebrities, including Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Mildred Bailey and Tommy Dorsey and Artie Shaw, who recorded his song Don't Take Your Love from Me. Shaw recorded this song in 1941 with a band of mostly African-American musicians accompanying the African-American vocalist Lena Horne. During his seven decade career, Nemo lived in Los Angeles and New York.


In 1989, Nemo appeared in The Plot Against Harry, a film made in 1969 by independent filmmakers Michael Roemer and Robert M. Young.[4][5]


  1. ^ Social Security Death Index.
  2. ^ a b Lyons, Leonard (May 3, 1941). "Broadway Medley". Pennsylvania, Shamokin. Shamokin News-Dispatch. p. 4. Retrieved March 21, 2016 – via Newspapers.com. open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ The Andersonville Trial, Internet Broadway Database.
  4. ^ Vicki Vasilopoulos, "New Life for a 1964 Film" The New York Times (November 14, 2004). Retrieved October 20, 2011
  5. ^ "Festival de Cannes: The Plot Against Harry" Cannes Film Festival (1990). Retrieved October 21, 2011