Biography of Ray Evans
Raymond Bernard Evans (February 4, 1915 – February 15, 2007) was an American songwriter. He was a partner in a composing and songwriting duo with Jay Livingston, known for the songs they composed for films. Evans wrote the lyrics and Livingston the music for the songs.
Evans, who was born Jewish, but later moved away from organized religion, citing it as a major cause of violence in the world was born in Salamanca, New York. He was valedictorian of his high school class, where he played clarinet in the band, and received a bachelor's degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School in 1937. He was elected that same year to Pi Gamma Mu, the honor society in the social sciences for his outstanding academic performance at the Wharton School.
Livingston and Evans, both members of ASCAP, won three Academy Awards, in 1948 for the song "Buttons and Bows", written for the movie The Paleface; in 1950 for the song "Mona Lisa", written for the movie Captain Carey, U.S.A.; and in 1956 for the song "Que Sera Sera", featured in the Alfred Hitchcock movie The Man Who Knew Too Much and sung by Doris Day. Another popular song that he and Livingston wrote for a film was the song "Tammy", written for the 1957 movie Tammy and the Bachelor. The song was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song. Livingston and Evans also wrote popular TV themes for shows including Bonanza and Mr. Ed. Their Christmas song Silver Bells intended for the 1951 Bob Hope film The Lemon Drop Kid, has become a Christmas standard.
In 1958, the songwriting team was nominated for a Tony Award for the musical Oh, Captain! Evans also collaborated separately with Henry Mancini, Max Steiner, and Victor Young. The song "Dear Heart" from the 1964 film of the same name was written by Livingston and Evans with Henry Mancini; it was nominated for an Oscar and for the Song of the Year Grammy Award, and was recorded multiple times, charting for Andy Williams, Jack Jones, and Henry Mancini.
Ray Evans is an inductee in the Songwriters Hall Of Fame.
He died at age 92 in Los Angeles, California, on the 42nd anniversary of the death of Nat King Cole, who had made "Mona Lisa" so famous.