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Overview for Rex Evans
Rex Evans

Rex Evans



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With his songwriting partner Jay Livingston, Ray Evans has been responsible for some of the more memorable movie songs from the late 1940s to the early 60s. The duo first met at the University of Pennsylvania where they both were enrolled as undergraduates. During their holiday breaks, they worked in a band that played on cruise ships. After graduating, the pair settled in NYC where they held odd jobs while trying to place their songs. In 1941, the first Livingston-Evans song "G'bye Now" was incorporated in Olsen and Johnson's "Hellzapoppin'" and landed on "Your Hit Parade." Olsen and Johnson brought the young songwriters out to Hollywood with them in 1944 where Betty Hutton recorded an early song of the duo, "Stuff Like That There." Producers Releasing Corporation began to incorporate their songs, including "The Cat and the Canary" (used in 1945's "Why the Girls Leave Home") which earned Livingston and Evans their first Oscar nomination.

Put under contract by Paramount in 1945, Livingston and Evans scored a hit with the title song for the Olivia de Havilland vehicle "To Each His Own" (1946). Within two years, they had one their first Oscar for the genial "Buttons and Bows" (from "The Paleface"), which was introduced by Bob Hope and made popular by Dinah Shore. Hope, along with Marilyn Maxwell, introduced the holiday classic "Silver Bells" in "The Lemon Drop Kid" (1951) and with Lucille Ball debuted "Home Cookin'" in "Fancy Pants" (1950). While under contract at Paramount, the pair churned out numerous hits ranging from "Just for Fun" (from "My Friend Irma" 1949) to the theme from "A Place in the Sun" (1951). Evans shared a second Oscar with Livingston for "Mona Lisa" used in 1950's "Captain Carey, U.S.A." and made famous by Nat King Cole. (In the film, the song is heard in fragments, sung by a blind Italian street singer.) The songwriters also made a cameo appearance as themselves in Billy Wilder's classic "Sunset Boulevard" (1950).

After leaving Paramount in 1956, Evans and Livingston worked as freelance writers. They hit big, winning a third Oscar for the lilting lullaby "Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be), which was germane to the plot of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1956). (Doris Day introduced the song in the film and later used it as the theme for her 1960s sitcom.) Livingston and Evans received additional Academy Award nods for the theme to "Tammy" (1957), made famous by Debbie Reynolds, "Almost in Your Arms (Love Theme from "Houseboat")" (1958), recorded by Sam Cooke, and the lyrics to Henry Mancini's "Dear Heart" (1964). Attempts to translate their success to Broadway with "Oh, Captain!" (1958) and "Let It Ride!" (1961) were less than successful. The pair found a more welcome home in TV, providing the memorable themes to such shows as "Bonanza" and "Mr. Ed." They finally found a measure of stage success with contributions to the hit musical "Sugar Babies" (1979), starring Ann Miller and Mickey Rooney. While their last original song in a film was the theme to "Foxtrot" (1975), Livingston and Evans were kept busy providing specialty material to nightclub performers and for charity functions.

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