Some 20 years after winning the best Original Screen Play Oscar for “Good Will Hunting,” Matt Damon and Ben Affleck reunited for a new drama called “The Last Duel.” Matt Damon and Affleck are well known names in Hollywood, but there is a wide circle of philanthropists, artists and musicians who are less known and give generously, too. One of the greatest givers of them all was Ginny Mancini.
She supported Disney Music Hall, The Music Center, The Hollywood Bowl and many other worthy organizations.
She was born in 1924 and died recently at her home in Malibu where she lived for many years.
Ginny was a jazz singer in the big band era.
In the postwar era, she joined the band leader Mel Torme right out of Los Angeles City College as a jazz singer. Later, she found herself with the Tex Beneke Orchestra. As a member of the orchestra she became a member of the famed Mello-Larks.
Beneke had recently taken over from the Glenn Miller Orchestra. The orchestra was out looking for fresh, young talent and he found it in a promising jazz singer as well as a creative arranger and pianist named Henry Mancini.
Ginny and Henry married in 1947. At the same time, Henry was hard at work writing hits like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “The Pink Panther.”
In no time, he snapped up 72 Grammy Awards and 18 Oscar nominees. As his career soared, he became one of the most popular and well known TV and film composers of the 20th century. A few years back, Henry was given a prestigious place in the Hollywood Bowl’s Hall of Fame.
While Henry was composing away, Ginny was hard at work with her charity work and causes. She was always on hand to lend a helping hand to Malibu, but her passion was music. Among her many campaigns was “The Neighborhood Music School.”
She founded a group that raised millions to help singers who had fallen on hard times; she served as president of a Los Angeles music academy that encouraged young musicians; and she was an honorary director at the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
One of Hollywood’s leading philanthropists, she died on Oct. 25. She attended concerts, concertos and performances right until the end. Even in frail health, she’d have a smile on her face and a warm greeting for all.
Ginny is survived by two daughters, a son, two grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Ginny Mancini, the woman with a generous heart of gold, was 97.