Johnny Green birth centennial
Johnny Green was born October 10, 1908, in New York. He entered Harvard at age 15, and while there, played piano and saxophone and led the Gold Coast Orchestra. Guy Lombardo heard the band and hired Green to write arrangements for his own band. This he did during summer vacations while eventually earning a master’s degree in English literature, and it was while working for Lombardo that he wrote his first hit song, “Coquette”. At his father’s insistence, Green got a job as a stockbroker, but soon left Wall Street to pursue a full time music career. In the early 30's, he worked as an accompanist for Ethel Merman, Gertrude Lawrence and James Melton, and also worked as a pianist for Leo Reisman. He was pianist and assistant conductor for Buddy Rogers, spent much of 1933 in London writing for musical productions at the London Hippodrome and for the BBC, then had his own band back in the U.S. (1933-41). With this band, he frequently appeared on radio, on his own show as well as the shows of Ruth Etting (1934), Ethel Merman (1935), Jack Benny (1935-36), Fred Astaire (1936-37) and the Philip Morris Show (1939-40). Beginning in 1942, he settled into the Hollywood studios, and was musical director for MGM from 1949 into the 60's. He won an Oscar in 1968 for his work on the movie Oliver!. As chairman of the music branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Art and Sciences, he conducted the orchestra for 17 Oscar telecasts. He also guest conducted several symphony orchestras. Among the songs he wrote are “Body and Soul”, “Out of Nowhere”, “I Cover the Waterfront”, “Weep No More My Baby”, “You’re Mine You” and “I Wanna Be Loved”. He died in 1989.