Lennie Hayton

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Lennie Hayton
BornLeonard George Hayton
14 February 1908[1]
New York City, New York
Died24 April 1971[2]
Palm Springs, California
Resting place
Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California
OccupationArranger
Years active1928–1970
Spouse(s)Helen Maude Gifford (Bubs Gelderman) (1935–1943; her death)
Lena Horne (1947–1971; his death)
 
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Lennie Hayton
BornLeonard George Hayton
14 February 1908[1]
New York City, New York
Died24 April 1971[2]
Palm Springs, California
Resting place
Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California
OccupationArranger
Years active1928–1970
Spouse(s)Helen Maude Gifford (Bubs Gelderman) (1935–1943; her death)
Lena Horne (1947–1971; his death)

Leonard George "Lennie" Hayton (14 February 1908 – 24 April 1971) was an American composer, conductor and arranger. His trademark was the wearing of a captain’s hat, which he always wore at a rakish angle.

Life and career[edit]

Hayton was born in New York City, New York, to a Jewish family. He was initially a pianist in jazz groups led by Frankie Trumbauer, Bix Beiderbecke, Red Nichols, Joe Venuti and others. He also played with the Paul Whiteman Orchestra.[3] Hayton composed "Apple Blossoms" with Joe Venuti, Frankie Trumbauer, and Eddie Lang. His other compositions included "Flying Fingers", "The Stage is Set", "Mood Hollywood" with Jimmy Dorsey, and "Midnight Mood". Hayton also co-arranged the Hoagy Carmichael composition "Stardust" with Artie Shaw, for Shaw's recording of it in 1940, for Bluebird records.[4]

He became a musical director for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) in 1940 and guided it through its prime years as forerunner of the movie musical. Up until his retirement from the post in 1953, he racked up four Academy Award nominations: for the Judy Garland musicals The Harvey Girls (1946) and The Pirate (1948). Hayton won the Academy Award for music for On the Town in 1950.[3] Lennie Hayton also arranged the music for Singin' in the Rain in 1952.[3] Hayton notched up two more nominations—one in 1968 for the unsuccessful Julie Andrews musical Star! and his last the following year for the Barbra Streisand vehicle Hello, Dolly!, which brought him his second and final Oscar. In 1970, Hayton arranged Frank Sinatra's first attempt at the George Harrison composition Something.[5] However, Sinatra later began using a Nelson Riddle arrangement of the song in concert performances and in 1979 he put the Riddle version on record.[citation needed]

Lennie Hayton's first marriage was to Helen Maude Gifford, also named Bubs Gelderman, who died in 1943.[3] Lennie Hayton met Lena Horne when both were under contract to MGM and married her in December 1947 in Paris.[6] Throughout the marriage, Hayton also acted as Horne’s music director. Facing the stresses and pressures of an interracial relationship, which was still relatively rare in that time period, their marriage lasted until his death at 63 from a heart attack in 1971.[7] Hayton and Horne had a tumultuous marriage. She later admitted in a 1980 Ebony interview she had married Hayton to advance her career, and cross the "color-line" in show business, but had learned to love him very much.[8] Unfortunately Horne and Hayton were separated for most of the sixties. Always a heavy drinker and smoker,[9] Hayton died of heart problems while separated from Horne, in Palm Springs, California in 1971.[10] He was buried in the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, Hollywood, California.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Solid! Lennie Hayton
  2. ^ Solid! Lennie Hayton
  3. ^ a b c d Lennie Hayton IMDb
  4. ^ [1] Artie Shaw: Stardust
  5. ^ Sinatra Clover Online
  6. ^ Obituary of Horne
  7. ^ Vh1 biography
  8. ^ Company, Johnson Publishing (May 1980). "Ebony". 
  9. ^ Gavin, James (2009). Stormy Weather: The Life Of Lena Horne. New York: Atria. p. 276. ISBN 978-0-7432-7143-1. 
  10. ^ Gavin 383–384
  11. ^ Lennie Hayton at Find a Grave

External links[edit]