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Johnny Marks (November 10, 1909 – September 3, 1985) was an American songwriter. Although he was Jewish, he specialized in Christmas songs and wrote many holiday standards, including "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (a hit for Gene Autry and others), "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" (a hit for Brenda Lee), "A Holly Jolly Christmas" (recorded by the Quinto Sisters and later by Burl Ives), "Silver and Gold" (for Burl Ives), and "Run Rudolph Run" (recorded by Chuck Berry).
Marks was born in Mount Vernon, New York. A graduate of McBurney School in New York, NY, and Colgate and Columbia Universities, Marks later studied in Paris. He earned a Bronze Star and four Battle Stars as a Captain in the 26th Special Service Company during World War II. Marks had three children: Michael, Laura and David. He is a great-uncle of economist Steven Levitt.
Marks was the nephew of Marcus M. Marks (1858–1937), an important business figure who served as Borough President of Manhattan. Johnny Marks’ father, Louis B. Marks, was a leading lighting engineer. His wife, Margaret May Marks, was the sister of Robert L. May.
Among Marks's many works is "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer", which was based on a poem of the same name, written by Marks’s brother-in-law, Robert L. May, Rudolph's creator. A television film based on the story and song first aired in 1964, with Marks himself composing the score.
** Burl Ives released "A Holly Jolly Christmas" and "Silver and Gold," two songs he sang as his character Sam the Snowman, as singles for the 1965 holiday season, the year after the TV production.