Barry Manilow


Musician, Singer, Songwriter

About

Also Known As
Barry Alan Pincus
Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
June 17, 1943

Biography

An immensely talented singer-musician, Barry Manilow trained at Juilliard before creating several endlessly lucrative jingles for such companies as State Farm and Band-Aid. After accompanying Bette Midler during her famous bathhouse sets, he produced her first two albums, and also began longtime professional friendships with Clive Davis and Dick Clark, gifting the latter with "It's Just ...

Family & Companions

Susan Manilow
Wife
Met in high school; divorced.
Linda Allen
Companion
Had on-again, off-again relationship from the late 1960s.

Bibliography

"Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise"
Barry Manilow

Biography

An immensely talented singer-musician, Barry Manilow trained at Juilliard before creating several endlessly lucrative jingles for such companies as State Farm and Band-Aid. After accompanying Bette Midler during her famous bathhouse sets, he produced her first two albums, and also began longtime professional friendships with Clive Davis and Dick Clark, gifting the latter with "It's Just another New Year's Eve" and a new version of "Bandstand Boogie." Manilow embarked on his own successful solo career with his 1973 debut album, which included the future Donna Summer single "Could it Be Magic," and he would go on to notch the hit ballads "Mandy," "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again," "Weekend in New England," "Looks Like We Made It," "Can't Smile Without You," "Ready To Take a Chance Again" and his most iconic smash, the upbeat, infectious "Copacabana." Frequently mocked for his middle-of-the-road persona and soft-focus music as well as his ambiguous sexuality, Manilow displayed a refreshing, self-deprecating sense of humor, and embarked on multiple successful international tours. He contributed a song to "Oliver & Company" (1988), co-wrote the scores for the animated films "Thumbelina" (1994) and "The Pebble and the Penguin" (1995), and co-wrote several live-action musicals. An Emmy winner, Manilow topped the Billboard album charts for the first time with 2006's The Greatest Songs of the Fifties and booked long-running stints in Las Vegas and on "American Idol" (Fox, 2002-16). Self-aware of his campy but inescapable appeal, Barry Manilow achieved international fame as a much-loved superstar.

Born June 17, 1943 in Brooklyn, NY, Barry Alan Pincus was born into a Jewish family, and took his mother's maiden name, Manilow, at the time of his bar mitzvah. Gifted with an innate, prodigious musical talent, Manilow enrolled in Juilliard in 1961, while working at CBS. There, he met a director who asked him to arrange some songs for a musical, "The Drunkard," but Manilow surprised him by writing the entire score, which then earned an eight-year run off-Broadway. Supporting himself as a pianist, arranger and producer, Manilow then embarked on the most lucrative of all his ventures: working as a commercial jingle writer. Enjoying unparalleled success, he wrote, composed and sang such immensely memorable and profitable jingles for companies such as State Farm, Band-Aid and McDonald's. Ed Sullivan's production company hired him as an arranger, and he began performing with Jeanne Lucas as a musical duo at New York's Upstairs at the Downstairs club.

In 1970, Manilow began accompanying Bette Midler for her famous sets in New York's Continental Baths, and their musical collaborations proved so inspiring to her that she retained him to assist with the production of her first two albums, 1972's The Divine Miss M and 1973's Bette Midler, as well as serving as the musical director for her "The Divine Miss M" tour. His debut album, 1973's Barry Manilow, included the song "Could It Be Magic," which would later become one of Donna Summer's biggest hits. The singer-songwriter's talents caught the eye of a young Clive Davis, who saw enormous potential in him, and he took a special interest in guiding and shaping his career at Arista Records. The second album, Barry Manilow II, (1974) cemented Manilow's stardom as a viable performer, spinning off the smash No. 1 hit, the timeless ballad "Mandy." So popular was the second album that it caused the label to remix and reissue his first album, retitled Barry Manilow I.

Manilow's 1975 appearance on "American Bandstand" (WFIL-TV, 1952-57; ABC, 1957-1987, syndicated, 1987-88, USA Network, 1989) led to a fruitful, longtime collaboration with Dick Clark, with Manilow composing and performing "It's Just another New Year's Eve" for Clark's annual specials and providing an updated rendition of "Bandstand Boogie," the series' theme song. Throughout the 1970s and early 1980s, Manilow began a run of chart dominance with such lush, soft-focus smashes as "Tryin' to Get the Feeling Again," "Weekend in New England," "Looks Like We Made It" and "Can't Smile Without You." Capitalizing on his success, ABC tapped him to appear in four variety specials, which received huge ratings, multiple Emmy nominations and several wins. His smash "Ready to Take a Chance Again," which appeared on the soundtrack to the Goldie Hawn/Chevy Chase romantic comedy smash "Foul Play" (1978) earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song.

But his most iconic song was perhaps the campy sing-a-long "Copacabana," which told the story of the passionate showgirl Lola and her ill-fated romance with bartender Tony. So catchy was the ditty that it took on a life of its own, later inspiring multiple projects by Manilow, including several musicals, including "Copacabana" (CBS, 1985), which starred Manilow as Tony and Annette O'Toole as Lola. In 1979, Manilow produced Dionne Warwick's platinum-selling Dionne and earned another Top Ten hit, "Ships." Throughout the 1980s, Manilow continued to enjoy musical success, but on the adult contemporary rather than mainstream pop charts, notching the hits "The Old Songs," "Somewhere Down the Road," "Read 'Em and Weep" and "I Don't Want to Walk Without You." Though his popularity had peaked in the 1970s, he continued to book multi-million dollar sold-out performances around the world, including a record-setting 10-night set at Radio City Music Hall in 1984.

Despite, or perhaps because of, Manilow's amazing success, he was frequently the target of jokes and parody, most often in terms of rumors regarding his ambiguous sexuality and his perceived "middle of the road," un-cool persona, which he bore through the years with self-deprecating humor. Artistically, he began incorporating more world music into his compositions, and to generously support music departments at multiple colleges and universities. His autobiography, Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise, was published in 1987 and he wrote a song, "Perfect Isn't Easy" for Bette Midler's character to sing in the animated Disney film "Oliver & Company" (1988). Starting in the late 1980s and into the 1990s, Manilow began focusing on recording other artists' music, releasing albums of holiday, Broadway, Big Band and tribute covers. He co-wrote the musical scores for the Don Bluth animated films "Thumbelina" (1994) and "The Pebble and the Penguin" (1995) and co-wrote a live-action musical, "Harmony," which was eventually canceled due to financial issues.

His 2002 greatest hits CD, Ultimate Manilow, was a hit, and he once again collaborated with Midler on two successful projects: 2003's Bette Midler Sings the Rosemary Clooney Songbook and 2005's Bette Midler Sings the Peggy Lee Songbook. Like many crowd-pleasing artists of his ilk, he began a long-running gig in Las Vegas as well as a string of appearances on "American Idol" (Fox, 2002-16) as a mentor and guest judge. Far from winding down, his career continued unabated; he earned his first No. 1 album with 2006's The Greatest Songs of the Fifties, which went platinum; won an Emmy for his performance in "Barry Manilow: Music and Passion" (PBS, 2006), and notched a No. 2 album with 2006's The Greatest Songs of the Sixties. In 2010, Manilow performed at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert. In April 2015, it was revealed that Manilow had married his longtime manager, Garry C. Kief, in a small private ceremony in 2014.

By Jonathan Riggs

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Copacabana (1985)

Music (Feature Film)

Daddy's Home 2 (2017)
Song Performer
Daddy's Home 2 (2017)
Song
Jack and Jill (2011)
Song Performer
Despicable Me (2010)
Song
Paul Blart: Mall Cop (2009)
Song Performer
Hellboy II: The Golden Army (2008)
Song Performer
Rachel Getting Married (2008)
Song
The Heartbreak Kid (2007)
Song Performer
Starsky & Hutch (2004)
Song Performer
See Spot Run (2001)
Song Performer
Duets (2000)
Song
200 Cigarettes (1999)
Song Performer
Can't Hardly Wait (1998)
Song Performer
Hope Floats (1998)
Song Performer
Happiness (1998)
Song Performer
Hope Floats (1998)
Song
Disturbing Behavior (1998)
Song Performer
The Pebble and the Penguin (1995)
Original Songs
The Pebble and the Penguin (1995)
Supervising Composer
Serial Mom (1994)
Song Performer
Thumbelina (1994)
Song
Serial Mom (1994)
Song
Thumbelina (1994)
Music Composer
Thumbelina (1994)
Song Performer
The Vanishing (1993)
Song
Heat (1987)
Music
In the Mood (1987)
Theme Lyrics
Pretty In Pink (1986)
Song
Pretty In Pink (1986)
Song Performer
Off Beat (1986)
Song
Copacabana (1985)
Music
Copacabana (1985)
Music Producer
Copacabana (1985)
Song
Tribute (1980)
Song Performer
The Line (1980)
Song
Tribute (1980)
Song
The Line (1980)
Song Performer
Foul Play (1978)
Song Performer

Misc. Crew (Feature Film)

The Pebble and the Penguin (1995)
Other

Cast (Special)

The 34th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards (2003)
ABC's Christmas in Aspen (2002)
Dionne Warwick: Don't Make Me Over (2001)
Interviewee
My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs (2001)
Manilow Live! (2000)
Manilow Country (2000)
25 Years of No. 1 Hits: Arista Records' Anniversary Celebration (2000)
ABC 2000 (1999)
Intimate Portrait: Suzanne Somers (1998)
Interviewee
Barry Manilow Live By Request (1996)
The 1995 Miss USA Pageant (1995)
The Rosemary Clooney Golden Anniversary Celebration (1995)
Christmas at Home With the Stars (1994)
Dame Edna's Hollywood (1993)
An American Reunion: The 52nd Presidential Inaugural Gala (1993)
Barry Manilow: The Best of Me (1993)
In a New Light '93 (1993)
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '94 (1993)
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '93 (1992)
American Bandstand 40th Anniversary Special (1992)
In a New Light (1992)
All-Star Fiesta at Ford's (1992)
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '92 (1991)
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (1990)
Sinatra 75: The Best Is Yet to Come (1990)
That's What Friends Are For (1990)
Barry Manilow: SRO on Broadway (1989)
That's What Friends Are For: AIDS Concert '88 (1988)
Barry Manilow: Big Fun on Swing Street (1988)
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '88 (1987)
New York City Marathon (1987)
We the People 200: The Constitutional Gala (1987)
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '87 (1986)
Liberty Weekend (1986)
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '86 (1985)
National Off-The-Wall People's Poll (1984)
Goldie and Kids... Listen to Us (1982)
Tom Snyder's Celebrity Spotlight (1980)
Barry Manilow -- One Voice (1980)
Host
The Sensational, Shocking, Wonderful, Wacky '70s (1980)
The Third Barry Manilow Special (1979)
Host
The Second Barry Manilow Special (1978)
The Barry Manilow Special (1977)

Writer (Special)

Manilow Country (2000)
Writer
Manilow Live! (2000)
Writer
Barry Manilow: SRO on Broadway (1989)
Writer
Barry Manilow: Big Fun on Swing Street (1988)
Writer
Barry Manilow -- One Voice (1980)
Writer
The Third Barry Manilow Special (1979)
Writer
The Second Barry Manilow Special (1978)
Writer
The Barry Manilow Special (1977)
Writer

Producer (Special)

Barry Manilow: Big Fun on Swing Street (1988)
Producer
Barry Manilow -- One Voice (1980)
Producer
The Third Barry Manilow Special (1979)
Producer
The Second Barry Manilow Special (1978)
Producer

Music (Special)

The 34th Annual Songwriters Hall of Fame Awards (2003)
Song Performer
My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs (2001)
Song Performer
Dick Clark's Primetime New Year's Rockin' Eve 2002 (2001)
Song Performer
Manilow Live! (2000)
Song Performer
Manilow Country (2000)
Song
Manilow Live! (2000)
Song
25 Years of No. 1 Hits: Arista Records' Anniversary Celebration (2000)
Song Performer
Manilow Live! (2000)
Music
Manilow Country (2000)
Theme Lyrics
I Am Your Child (1997)
Theme Music ("I Am Your Child")
Christmas at Home With the Stars (1994)
Song Performer
Barry Manilow: The Best of Me (1993)
Song Performer ("Ready To Take A Chance Again" "Daybreak" "This One'S For You" "Trying To Get The Feelin'" "I Don'T Wanna Walk Without You" "Send In The Clowns" "Looks Like We Made It" "Bandstand Boogie" "Weekend In New England" "Copacabana" "Mandy" "I Write The Songs" "Can'T Smile Without You")
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '94 (1993)
Song Performer ("Just Another New Year'S Eve")
An American Reunion: The 52nd Presidential Inaugural Gala (1993)
Song Performer
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '93 (1992)
Song Performer ("Just Another New Year'S Eve")
In a New Light (1992)
Song Performer
All-Star Fiesta at Ford's (1992)
Song Performer
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '92 (1991)
Song Performer
That's What Friends Are For (1990)
Song Performer
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (1990)
Song Performer ("Because It'S Christmas")
Barry Manilow: SRO on Broadway (1989)
Song Performer
Barry Manilow: Big Fun on Swing Street (1988)
Song
We the People 200: The Constitutional Gala (1987)
Song
New York City Marathon (1987)
Song ("Brooklyn Blues")
We the People 200: The Constitutional Gala (1987)
Song Performer
New York City Marathon (1987)
Song Performer ("Brooklyn Blues")
Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve '87 (1986)
Song Performer
The Drunkard (1982)
Music
Goldie and Kids... Listen to Us (1982)
Song Performer

Special Thanks (Special)

Manilow Country (2000)
Writer
Manilow Live! (2000)
Writer
Barry Manilow: SRO on Broadway (1989)
Writer
Barry Manilow: Big Fun on Swing Street (1988)
Writer
Barry Manilow -- One Voice (1980)
Writer
The Third Barry Manilow Special (1979)
Writer
The Second Barry Manilow Special (1978)
Writer
The Barry Manilow Special (1977)
Writer

Misc. Crew (Special)

Barry Manilow: SRO on Broadway (1989)
Other

Cast (TV Mini-Series)

Unconditional Love (2002)
Himself

Music (TV Mini-Series)

Unconditional Love (2002)
Song Performer

Misc. Crew (TV Mini-Series)

Unconditional Love (2002)
Other

Life Events

1974

Headlined solo tour following release of "Mandy", his first hit single

1977

Starred in first network TV variety program "The Barry Manilow Special" (ABC)

1978

Healined "The Second Barry Manilow Special" (ABC)

1978

Recorded "Ready to Take a Chance Again" from the film "Foul Play"

1979

Starred in "The Third Barry Manilow Special" (ABC)

1980

Fourth ABC variety program, "One Voice"

1981

His "In the Round" world tour set box-office records in the United Kingdom and elsewhere

1981

Made cable debut with Showtime program "The Barry Manilow Special"

1984

Released jazz vocal album "2:00 AM at the Paradise Cafe"

1985

First recording on RCA, "Manilow"

1985

Made TV acting debut in "Copacabana" (CBS), based on his hit song

1987

Returned to Arista Records; released "Swing Street"

1987

Headlined the CBS special "Barry Manilow: Big Fun on Swing Street"

1989

Starred on Broadway in "Barry Manilow at the Gershwin"

1994

Co-wrote the songs for the animated "Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbelina"

1994

Wrote the score for the stage production "Copacabana - The Musical"

1995

Collaborated on the song score for the animated film "The Pebble and the Penguin"

1997

Premiered "Harmony", a musical about the Comedian Harmonists at the La Jolla Playhouse

2000

Left Arista Records for Concord Records, a jazz-oriented label in California

2002

Portrayed himself in the comedy "Unconditional Love," in which Manilow's hit "Can't Smile Without You" plays a key role in the plot

2004

Released both a live album, <i>2 Nights Live!</i> and a soundtrack album of his musicals <i>Scores</i>

2004

Appeared as a guest judge for the fox reality show "American Idol"

2005

Signed a deal to perform his "Music and Passion" show at the Las Vegas Hilton through 2008

2008

Earned a Grammy nomination for his album <i>In The Swing Of Christmas</i>

Family

Joseph Manilow
Grandfather
Helped to raise him.
Esther Manilow
Grandmother
Helped to raise him.
Harold Kelliher
Father
Edna Manilow
Mother
Died in 1994.
William Murphy
Step-Father

Companions

Susan Manilow
Wife
Met in high school; divorced.
Linda Allen
Companion
Had on-again, off-again relationship from the late 1960s.

Bibliography

"Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise"
Barry Manilow