US composer. A four-time Academy Award winner for film music, he wrote and conducted the music for more than 80 films. His tunes include the song ‘Moon River’ from Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) and the theme to The Pink Panther (1963) and its numerous sequels.
Mancini was born in Cleveland, Ohio, learned flute and piano, and began arranging music while in his teens. World War II interrupted his studies at the Juilliard School of Music in New York.
He became an arranger for the post-war Glenn Miller Orchestra and worked on the film The Glenn Miller Story (1954). One of his most striking early scores was the jazz-tinged music for Orson Welles's film Touch of Evil (1958), and he achieved wider attention with the music for the TV series Peter Gunn (1958–60). He later scored all the films of Blake Edwards, maker of the Pink Panther series, and accepted TV assignments as well as features.
Mancini was also a prolific recording artist, collecting 20 Grammy awards and six gold albums. On television, he appeared on a half-hour musical series, Mancini Generation, as well as in numerous specials, and his concerts were popular around the world. At the time of his death he was collaborating with Leslie Bricusse (1931– ) on a stage version of the film Victor-Victoria (1982), for which they provided music and lyrics.