OT/MISC Johnny Mandel Dies: ‘MASH’ Composer & Oscar Winner Was 94


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Johnny Mandel Dies: ‘MASH’ Composer & Oscar Winner Was 94
By Tom Grater
June 30, 2020 6:46am

Johnny Mandel, the Oscar and Grammy winning composer whose noted work included composing the MASH theme, has died at the age of 94. Details of his death have not been disclosed but his friend and fellow musician Michael Feinstein confirmed the news on Facebook, as did numerous others close to Mandel.

“A dear friend and extraordinary composer arranger and all-around brilliant talent Johnny Mandel just passed away,” Feinstein wrote on his official page. “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 will we miss him. Let’s celebrate him with his music! He would like that.”

Born in New York in 1925, Mandel studied music and played in numerous bands before beginning composing and arranging orchestral scores for the likes of Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, and Barbra Streisand.

He broke into composing for movies in the 1960s, with his original song The Shadow Of Your Smile composed for the Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor film The Sandpiper scoring him both an Oscar and Grammy.

Suicide Is Painless, with music written by Mandel and lyrics by a 14-year-old Michael Altman, became the theme song for both Robert Altman’s MASH movie and the subsequent TV series. The song was covered by the Manic Street Preachers and released as a single in 1992, making it to number seven on the UK Singles Chart.

In total, Mandel won five Grammys in his career. Further tributes flooded in today including from the singer Michael Buble, who posted on twitter:


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I'm a HUGE fan of the first 3 seasons of MASH. Excellent writing, and performances in those seasons. Got WAY too Liberal/Anti-War after McLean Stevenson and Wayne Rogers left. Actually won some concert tickets on a radio call in. Question was "What's the name of the MASH theme song?". Of course it's "Suicide is Painless". Ahh the good old days.