LOS ANGELES--Jay Livingston, the Academy Award-winning composer and lyricist who, with his songwriting partner Ray Evans, wrote numerous hits, including "Que Sera, Sera," "Mona Lisa," and the Christmas song "Silver Bells," died here October 17, 2001, of pneumonia. The duo's compositions appeared in many well-known movies; MSTies will recall one of their early efforts: In 1945 they wrote the songs for the movie later featured in episode 507- I ACCUSE MY PARENTS. Livingston was 86.
Born in the Pittsburgh suburb of McDonald, PA, in 1915, he began studying music as a young boy. He met Evans while he was a student at the University of Pennsylvania and the two organized a dance band that played at school functions. They also worked cruise ships during vacations and when, after graduating, their last cruise docked in New York, they decided to stay there and write songs.
They soon had a Tin Pan Alley hit with "G'bye Now." By the early 1940s, they were regularly contributing songs to films and Broadway shows.
Livingston served in the U.S. Army during World War II and, after his discharge in 1944, he and Evans went to Hollywood where they signed a Paramount Pictures contract. They would write songs for more than 100 films during the next ten years. Their Academy Award winners were "Buttons and Bows" (from 1948's "The Paleface"), "Mona Lisa" (from 1950's "Captain Cary, U.S.A.") and Doris Day's signature tune, "Que Sera Sera" (from 1956's "The Man Who Knew Too Much", 1956).
TV fans will also recognize their work: the two wrote theme songs for a number of TV series, including "Bonanza," "Please Don't Eat the Daisies," "The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Hour" and "Mr. Ed."
After 1955, Livingston and Evans free-lanced for many different Hollywood studios, sometimes contributing individual songs, sometimes scoring entire films. Livingston often worked with comedian Bob Hope, scoring 12 of his films. He and Evans continued to work well into the 1970s.
Evans and Livingson are both members of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and they share a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1996, the Motion Picture Academy honored them with an evening of their songs, the City of Los Angeles dedicated their annual Music Week to them and the Young Musicians Foundation presented Livingston with their Lifetime Achievement Award.