Born: May 13, 1909 | Died: January 24, 1992 Primary Instrument: Composer/conductor/leader
Born in Hebron, NE. Composer How The West Was Won(1963), songwriter Make Mine Music (1946), choral director, conductor, arranger, singer and author, educated at Christian College and a student of Tibor Serly, Ernst Toch, Herman Hand, and Victor Young.
Darby originated the King's Men male vocal quartet in 1929 and appeared on radio, films, concerts, television and recordings. Later he led and arranged music for the Ken Darby Singers. He was a writer and production supervisor for Walt Disney Studios, and associate producer of many record albums. He was choral and vocal director on the 1946 Disney film classic, Song of the South, Pinocchio, his Singers backing up Cliff Edwards on the classic When You Wish Upon a Star (1940).
His choral group, the Ken Darby Singers, sang backup for Bing Crosby on the original 1942 Decca Records studio recording of White Christmas. They also sang on the first album ever made of the songs from The Wizard of Oz, in 1940, a film on which Darby had worked. However, the album was a studio cast recording, not a true soundtrack album, although it did feature Judy Garland, and it did not use the film's original arrangements.
He was Marilyn Monroe's vocal coach for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and There's No Business Like Show Business (1954). He also composed the Elvis Presley hit Love Me Tender for the movie of the same name, but signed the rights over to his wife, Vera Matson, whose name appears as co-lyricist with Elvis Presley for royalty purposes.
Joining ASCAP in 1946, his chief musical collaborator was Gordon Jenkins. His other popular-song compositions include The Chool Song, Love Song of Kalua, Saga of the Ponderosa, Ports of Paradise, Merry Christmas Neighbor, Endless Prairie and Whispering Wind.
Other notable film credits include (as vocal or choral music director): The Wizard of Oz (1939), So Dear To My Heart (1949),Wasbash Avenue and My Blue Heaven (both 1950), River of No Return, Three Coins In The Fountain, There's No Business Like Show Business and The Egyptain(all 1954), Daddy Long Legs(1955), Carousel, The King And I, Bus Stop and Love Me Tender (all 1956), An Affair to Remember and The Three Faces of Eve(both 1957), South Pacific (1958) and The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).
Music Scoring Awards (Scoring of a Musical Picture) 1956: The King And I (w. Alfred Newman) Nominated for Music Scoring Awards (Scoring of a Musical Picture) 1956: South Pacific (w. Alfred Newman) Music Scoring Awards (Scoring of a Musical Picture) 1956: Porgy And Bess (w. Andre Previn) Nominated for Music Scoring Awards (Scoring of a Musical Picture) 1961: Flower Drum Song (w. Alfred Newman) Nominated for Music Scoring Awards (Music Score Substantially Original) 1963: How The West Was Won (w. Alfred Newman) Music Scoring Awards (Scoring of a Musical Picture) 1967: Camelot (w. Alfred Newman)
6 nominations, 3 Awards