Famed Hollywood Composer Johnny Mandel Dies at 94

Johnny Mandel
Gary Gershoff/Getty Images for Songwriter's Hall of Fame

Johnny Mandel attends the 41st Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Ceremony at The New York Marriott Marquis on June 17, 2010 in New York City.

Johnny Mandel, the famed Hollywood composer behind the theme song for classic sitcom M*A*S*H, has died at the age of 94. Mandel's daughter, Marissa, confirmed the death via the New York Times.

Mandel's longtime pal Michael Feinstein also shared the news on Monday (June 29) via a heartfelt Facebook post. "A dear friend and extraordinary composer arranger and all-around brilliant talent Johnny Mandel just passed away," the musician wrote. "The world will never be quite the same without his humor, wit and wry view of life and the human condition. He was truly beyond compare, and nobody could write or arrange the way he did. Lord we will miss him. Let's celebrate him with his music! He would like that."

In a statement emailed to Billboard, ASCAP president and songwriter Paul Williams also weighed in on the loss of Mandel: "Giant. Genius. Gentleman. There are many ways to describe the legendary composer Johnny Mandel. His incredible music spanned decades, mediums, oceans and firmly established him in the American Songbook canon. I had the great honor of witnessing his unique gifts personally when we co-wrote a song 'Close Enough for Love.' I cherish that experience. Johnny proudly served his fellow music creators on the ASCAP Board for many years and his work paved the way for future generations of songwriters and composers to pursue a life in music as he had. He was a true jazz spirit and that spirit will live on in his music and in our hearts for eternity."

Over the course of his illustrious career, the Juilliard-educated Mandel worked with a long list of stars including Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Count Basie, Frank Sinatra and more.

In 1966, he took home both the Oscar for best original song and song of the year at the Grammys for writing "The Shadow of Your Smile," the love theme to the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor romance The Sandpiper. Other film scores in his lengthy catalog of work also include 1964's The Americanization of Emily starring Julie Andrews, 1975's Escape to Witch Mountain, the original 1976 version of Freaky Friday and 1980's Caddyshack.

In the wake of the news, Michael Bublé also turned to social media to share a touching tribute to the late composer. "I was so sad to learn that a hero of mine, Johnny Mandel, passed away. He was a genius and one of my favorite writers, arrangers, and personalities. He was a beast. RIP Johnny," the crooner wrote alongside a black-and-white portrait of his friend.

Read Feinstein and Buble's tributes to the late Mandel below.

A dear friend and extraordinary composer arranger and all-around brilliant talent Johnny Mandel just passed away. The...

Posted by Michael Feinstein on Monday, June 29, 2020

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