Nacio Herb Brown

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Nacio Herb Brown
Ignacio Herbert Brown
Ignacio Herbert Brown
Background information
Birth nameIgnacio Herbert Brown
Born(1896-02-22)February 22, 1896
Deming, New Mexico, U.S.
DiedSeptember 28, 1964(1964-09-28) (aged 68)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Occupation(s)Composer, songwriter

Ignacio Herbert "Nacio Herb" Brown (February 22, 1896 – September 28, 1964)[1] was an American writer of popular songs, movie scores and Broadway theatre music in the 1920s through the early 1950s. Amongst his most enduring work is the score for the 1952 musical film Singin' in the Rain.

Life and career[edit]

Ignacio Herbert Brown was born in Deming, New Mexico, United States,[1] to Ignacio and Cora Brown.[2][3][4] He had an older sister, Charlotte.[2] In 1901, his family moved to Los Angeles, where he attended Manual Arts High School.[1] His music education started with instruction from his mother, Cora Alice (Hopkins) Brown. Brown first operated a tailoring business (1916), and then became a financially successful realtor, but he always wrote and played music.[1][5] After his first hit "Coral Sea" (1920)[1] and a first big hit, "When Buddha Smiles" (1921), he eventually became a full-time composer. He joined The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) in 1927, the same year writing the piano instrumental "The Doll Dance".[5] This was followed by two more popular Doll-based tunes, "Rag Doll" (1928) and "The Wedding of the Painted Doll", released in 1929.[5]

In 1928, he was hired to work in Hollywood by MGM and write film scores for the new medium of sound film. For his film work, he often collaborated with lyricist Arthur Freed.[1] Their music is collected for the most part in Singin' in the Rain. He appeared in the MGM variety film The Hollywood Revue of 1929.[1] Brown also worked with Richard A. Whiting and Buddy De Sylva on Broadway Musicals such as Take a Chance.[1]

Along with L. Wolfe Gilbert, Brown wrote the music for the children's television western, Hopalong Cassidy, which first aired in 1949.

After an 18-month illness and a brief hospitalization at UCSF Medical Center, Brown died of cancer on September 28, 1964, in San Francisco, California, at the home of his children, Nacio Jan Brown and Candace Nacio Brown.[6]


Brown was married at least five times.

  1. Ruby Porter, with whom he had one child, Nacio Herb Brown, Jr., who also became a composer. Brown and Porter divorced in 1931.[7]
  2. In 1932 he married Jeanne Borlini Lockhart.[8]
  3. In 1934 he married actress Anita Page.[9]
  4. Beffie Kellogg[citation needed]
  5. In 1942 he married Georgeann Morris. They divorced in 1952. The couple had two children, Nacio Jan Brown, b.1943, and Candace Brown, b. 1945.[citation needed]


He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970, and into the New Mexico Entertainment Hall of Fame in 2012.

Published songs and music[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 345. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ a b 1900 United States Federal Census
  3. ^ "Singin' In The Rain - The Songs of Nacio Herb Brown: His 27 Finest 1927-1951". Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  4. ^ "Nacio Herb Brown discography - RYM/Sonemic". Rate Your Music. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c Rust, Brian. The Great British Dance Bands play the music of Nacio Herb Brown (Sleeve notes). EMI. SH 267.
  6. ^ "Nacio Herb Brown Dies at 68; Composer of Many Hit Songs". The New York Times. September 30, 1964. Retrieved March 7, 2021.
  7. ^ "Divorces Nacio H. Brown. Wife of Song Composer Gets $110,000 and California Home". The New York Times. April 18, 1931.
  8. ^ "Herb Nacio Brown Reported Wed". The New York Times. July 26, 1932.
  9. ^ "Anita Page Wed in Mexico". The New York Times. July 28, 1934.

External links[edit]