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Mack David (July 5, 1912 December 30, 1993) was an American lyricist and songwriter, best known for his work in film and television, with a career spanning from the early 1940s through the early 1970s. Mack was credited with writing lyrics and/or music for over one thousand songs. He was particularly well known for his work on the Disney films Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland, and for the mostly-English lyrics through which Édith Piaf's signature song "La Vie en rose" gained much of its familiarity among native speakers of English.
Mack David was the elder brother of American lyricist and songwriter, Hal David. Mack David died in 1993 in his Rancho Mirage, California home and his remains are buried at the Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles, California.
Mack David was born to a Jewish family in New York City, New York, on July 5, 1912. David originally planned to become an attorney and attended Cornell University and St. John's University Law School. Despite these original goals, in the mid-1940s, David began writing songs for New York's Tin Pan Alley. These initial successes prompted David to move to Hollywood, California, to work in the film and television industries. David enjoyed considerable success, including eight Academy Award nominations for "Bibbidy-Bobbidy-Boo", which he, Al Hoffman and Jerry Livingston wrote for Disney's Cinderella (1950), followed by the titlesongs from The Hanging Tree (1959), Bachelor in Paradise (1961), Walk on the Wild Side (1962), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), The Ballad of Cat Ballou (1965) and "My Wishing Doll" from Hawaii (1966). David was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975. David's "most remunerative" song, "Sunflower", was published in 1948, and Frank Sinatra turned it into a hit. Jerry Herman's hit theme song for Hello, Dolly!, composed over a decade later, used the same melody line as David's "Sunflower." When David sued Herman for copyright infringement, Herman settled out of court with David (for a reputed $250,000), claiming he had never heard David's "Sunflower" prior to working on "Hello, Dolly!"
Academy Award nominations
Composer and lyricist of popular songs
In addition to his many Academy Award nominations, Mack David also had a number of hit songs, including:
Mack David also collaborated with many composers, including Raymond Scott, Al Hoffman, Alex Kramer, Count Basie, Burt Bacharach, Henry Mancini, and Jerry Livingston, on numerous songs for stage and screen, including Casper the Friendly Ghost, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Bourbon Street Beat, Surfside 6 and "This Is It" (for the 1960s The Bugs Bunny Show).
But perhaps David's most popular lyrics were those written for "La Vie En Rose," a French song with lyrics by Édith Piaf and music by Louigny (Louis Guglielmi), which had been Piaf's "signature song". Although David did not write an English Translation of Piaf's lyrics, his words captured the spirit of the song and became a very popular American version because of performances by artists such as Louis Armstrong. The song has also been recorded by over eighty international singers and musicians, and been featured in several dozen motion pictures.
David's song "Candy" (co-written with Whitney and Kramer) was recorded by Ella Fitzgerald for her 1968 album 30 by Ella.
Work on Broadway
David had a varied interest in musical composition. In 1975, according to the New York Times in David's obituary: "Mr. David was granted a patent for inventing an electronic system for composing songs from fractional recordings. The system, which included playback units, stored records of lyrics and melodies. The operator selected words and music that fit together and recorded the combination."