The Shadow of Your Smile’s composer, 94

The Shadow of Your Smile’s composer, 94


norman lebrecht

June 30, 2020

Hollywood is mourning Johnny Mandel, famed for that ear-worm MASH theme ‘Suicide is Painless’, but universally loved for The Shadow of Your Smile.

He wrote ‘The Shadow’ for a 1960s film, ‘The Sandpiper’.


Johnny’s mother, Hannah, was a New York opera singer.


  • E. says:

    Universally loved, and a song to dance to, slowly.
    Thank you for posting this.

  • Jason Lewis says:

    This too. A gorgeous song.

  • clarrieu says:

    RIP the last of the giants, the really great american songwriters. After Michel Legrand and him, who’s left? Burt Bacharach (not the same league in my opinion…)

  • Mustafa Kandan says:

    The film composers wrote memorable music at that time, perhaps no one better than those Italians Nino Rota and Ennio Morricone. I cannot think anyone as good today.

  • John Rook says:

    Johnny Mandel was also a superb arranger. Thanks for all the beauty…

  • Rob says:

    His score to Being There is one of my favourites. He also wrote some very good Nelson Riddle style arrangements for Sinatra on Sinatra’s Ring-a-Ding-Ding! album which was conducted by Felix Slatkin.

    • Right Being There a pure masterpice!

    • Yes Addison says:

      He also arranged two really beautiful albums for the singer/pianist Shirley Horn in her Indian summer for the Verve label, Here’s to Life (1992) and You’re My Thrill (2000). The earlier of these has her renditions of three of Mandel’s songs.

  • He worked also with Frank Sinatra who cited him frenquently during the concerts. I remember an excellent score also of the film Harper with Paul Newman a very good detectiv film.

  • Ruben Greenberg says:

    One of the great American song-writers. So many of his tunes were played by the best jazz musicians.

  • Bruce says:

    A memorable description of Elizabeth Taylor by Richard Burton, from around this period:

    “At thirty-four she is an extremely beautiful woman, lavishly endowed by nature with a few flaws in the masterpiece: She has an insipid double chin, her legs are too short and she has a slight potbelly. She has a wonderful bosom, though.”

  • Jaspers John says:

    He wrote several memorable songs, with Peggy Lee (The Shining Sea), among others. But not nearly enough of them. His songbook is sadly thin.

  • clarrieu says:

    As usual, beautiful interview material on the brilliant JazzWax site: