LOS ANGELES--Oscar®-winning lyricist Ray Evans, whose long
collaboration with partner Jay Livingston produced such enduring
standards as "Mona Lisa," "Buttons and Bows," "Silver Bells" and
"Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)," died here Feb. 15 of
heart failure. He was 92. MSTies will remember their collaboration
for such catchy tunes as "Are You Happy in Your Work?" in the movie
in episode 507- I ACCUSE MY PARENTS.
The duo earned seven Academy Award nominations and won three--in
1948 for "Buttons and Bows" in the film "Paleface," in 1950 for
"Mona Lisa" in the movie "Captain Carey, USA" and in 1956 for
"Whatever Will Be, Will Be (Que Sera, Sera)" from "The Man Who Knew
Too Much." They also produced memorable theme songs for television
series including "Bonanza" and "Mr. Ed."
Evans was born in Salamanca, N.Y., the son of a secondhand paper,
string and burlap dealer. After graduating from high school, where
he played clarinet in the school band and was valedictorian of his
class, Evans was accepted at the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania. There he meet fellow Penn student Livingston, a
journalism major from Pennsylvania, and they formed a college dance
band. During school vacations they played together in cruise ship
bands. After graduating in 1937, they moved to New York City and
began their songwriting collaboration.
They had their first success in 1941 when their song "G'Bye Now" was
incorporated into Olsen and Johnson's Broadway revue "Hellzapoppin'"
and landed on "Your Hit Parade." In 1944, the two songwriters came
out to Hollywood, where they had a hit with Betty Hutton's recording
of "Stuff Like That There." In addition to their three Oscar-winning
songs, Livingston and Evans earned four other Oscar nominations--for
"The Cat and the Canary" from "Why Girls Leave Home" (1945);
"Tammy," sung by Debbie Reynolds in "Tammy and the Bachelor" (1957);
"Almost in Your Arms" from "Houseboat" (1958), and "Dear Heart" from
the movie of the same name (1964).
For one week in 1946, five versions of their song "To Each His Own"
were listed on Billboard's Top 10 list. The pair even made a cameo
appearance, playing themselves, in Billy Wilder's 1950 classic
"Sunset Boulevard." In later years, the songwriting team provided
special material for Bob Hope and charity shows.
In 1993, Evans returned to Salamanca, N.Y., which renamed a Main
Street theater in his honor.
Evans, whose wife died in 2003, is survived by his sister, Doris