The Oscar and Grammy-winning composer created arrangements for Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand and more

By Georgia Slater
June 30, 2020 09:00 AM
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Johnny Mandel, the famed Hollywood composer and arranger behind the iconic M*A*S*H* theme song, has died. He was 94.

Michael Feinstein, a fellow musician and friend of Mandel, first announced the news Monday evening on Facebook. Details of his death have yet to be released.

"A dear friend and extraordinary composer arranger and all-around brilliant talent Johnny Mandel just passed away," Feinstein 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," Feinstein added. "Let's celebrate him with his music! He would like that."

The New York native was born into a family of music — his mother was an aspiring opera singer, according to The Guardian.

Mandel first got his start while studying music at Juilliard, where he found work with early jazz bands led by famed musicians Buddy Rich and Count Basie among others.

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The musician then dove into composing and arranging, becoming celebrated in the world of film scoring.

In 1964, Mandel scored the theme song entitled "Emily" to the Julie Andrews movie, The Americanisation of Emily, which later become a hit tune.

According to Variety, Mandel scored more than 30 films during his time in Hollywood. One of his most notable works was on the song "The Shadow of Your Smile" from the 1960s film The Sandpiper, which earned him an Oscar and Grammy for song of the year.

In 1970, Mandel famously scored the sitcom M*A*S*H.

The instrumental version of the song, "Suicide Is Painless," became the show's theme and one of his most famous works.

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While scoring additional films like Caddyshack and Point Blank, Mandel also created orchestral charts for popular singers including Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Tony Bennett, Michael Jackson and more. The composer was awarded a total of five Grammys during his career.

Earlier Tuesday, Mandel was remembered by Michael Bublé, who called the famed musician "a hero of mine."

"He was a genius and one of my favorite writers, arrangers, and personalities." Bublé wrote on Twitter. "He was a beast. RIP Johnny."