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Jay Livingston

Jacob Harold Livingston

Composer, Lyricist

(1915 - 2001)

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New York Times
Big Bands Database
Songwriters Hall of Fame
The Pennsylvania Gazette

Jay Livingston began playing piano in dance bands while still in high school and studied orchestration and composition at the University of Pennsylvania where he met his long-time musical collaborator Ray Evans. They played in a college dance band, performed in night clubs and on cruises, and wrote novelty songs, Livingston composing the music and collaborating with Evans on the lyrics. In 1937 they moved to New York City to write for Broadway shows. They also tailored songs to specific performers which led to a long-standing relationship with Bob Hope beginning in 1947.

After service in WWII, Livingston went to Hollywood with Evans to write for pictures. The title cut of their first film, To Each His Own (1946), went to number one on the charts and earned an Academy Award nomination, and a collaboration with Victor Young produced the title cut of Golden Earrings (1947). In 1948 the songwriting duo won an Academy Award for “Buttons and Bows” from The Paleface, followed by “Mona Lisa,” which appeared in a 1950 film and became a signature song for Nat “King” Cole. Cole also had a hit with the pair’s 1952 “The Ruby and the Pearl.” “Que Sera Sera,” their third Oscar winner, was sung by Doris Day in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).

In addition to their Academy wins, they were nominated for “The Cat and the Canary” (1945); “Tammy” (1957); the love song from Houseboat, “Almost in Your Arms” (1958); and “Dear Heart,” the Henry Mancini composition for which they wrote lyrics in 1964. They also wrote the popular Christmas song, “Silver Bells,” introduced by Bob Hope in The Lemon Drop Kid in 1951 and popularized by Bing Crosby. “Never Let Me Go,” their song that became a top jazz standard, first appeared in the 1956 film The Scarlet Hour.

The pair returned to Broadway and won a Tony Award nomination for their musical Oh Captain! in 1958. But as rock & rock took over the music industry in the ‘60s, this great songwriting team was no longer in demand. They turned to writing for TV, producing the famous themes for Bonanza and Mister Ed.

Record sales of their songs have exceeded 400 million. Livingston and Evans were honored with a star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 1995, and the following year the Motion Picture Academy dedicated an evening to honor their accomplishments.

- Sandra Burlingame

Mona Lisa

Nat King Cole

Bing Crosby & Rosemary Clooney Christmas - Silver Bells

Never Let Me Go

Stanley Turrentine

Oh Captain! (1958 Original Broadway Cast)

Jay Livingston, Ray Evans, Tony Randall, Susan Johnson, Jacquelyn McKeever
Reading and Viewing

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Henry Mancini, Jay Livingston, Ray Evans

Dear Heart (Cover Photo: Glenn Ford and Geraldine Page)

Northridge Music

Jay Livingston, Ray Evans

Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera) (Cover Photo: Doris Day and James Stewart)

Artists Music, Inc. NY

Jay Livingston, Ray Evans

The Songs Of Livingston and Evans

Hal Leonard Corporation

Bob Hope, Jane Russell

The Paleface

Universal Studios


Doris Day/Jimmy Stewart

The Man Who Knew Too Much

Universal Studios


Cary Grant, Sophia Loren, Martha Hyer, Harry Guardino, Eduardo Ciannelli




Marlene Dietrich, Bruce Cabot, Roland Young, Mischa Auer, Andy Devine

Golden Earrings

Universal Studios

DVD - Marlene Dietrich - The Glamour Collection (Morocco/ Blonde Venus/ The Devil Is a Woman/ Flame of New Orleans/ Golden Earrings)

Bob Hope, Marilyn Maxwell, Lloyd Nolan, Jane Darwell, Andrea King

The Lemon Drop Kid

Bci / Eclipse


Lorne Greene, Pernell Roberts, Dan Blocker, Michael Landon, Lee Van Cleef


Mill Creek Entertainment

DVD - Best of Bonanza (34 episodes)

Leon Ames, Mister Ed, Connie Hines, Larry Keating, Allan Lane

Mister Ed

MGM (Video & DVD)

DVD - The Best of Mister Ed - Volume One

Glenn Ford, Geraldine Page, Angela Lansbury, Michael Anderson Jr., Barbara Nichols

Dear Heart [VHS]

Warner Home Video


Olivia de Havilland, Mary Anderson

To Each His Own

Universal Studios


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