Kenneth Lorin Darby (May 13, 1909 - January 24, 1992) was an American composer, vocal arranger, lyricist, and conductor. His film scores were recognized with three Academy Awards and one Grammy Award. He provided vocals for the Munchkinland mayor in The Wizard of Oz (1939), who was portrayed in the film by Charlie Becker. Darby is also notable as the author of The Brownstone House of Nero Wolfe (1983), a biography of the home of Rex Stout's fictional detective. , Personal life: Kenneth Lorin Darby was born in Hebron, Nebraska, on May 13, 1909, to Lorin Edward Darby and Clara Alice Powell. Career: Ken Darby's choral group, The Ken Darby Singers, sang backup for Bing Crosby on the original 1942 Decca Records studio recording of "White Christmas." In 1940 they also sang on the first album ever made of the songs from The Wizard of Oz, 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. Darby also performed as part of "The King's Men," a vocal quartet who recorded several songs with Paul Whiteman's orchestra in the mid 1930s and were the featured vocalists on the Fibber McGee and Molly radio program from 1940 through 1953. They also participated on the soundtracks of several MGM films, including The Wizard Of Oz and occasional Tom and Jerry cartoons. He also provided the theme song and the soundtrack for "The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp," the 1950s-60s television series starring Hugh O'Brian. He was a composer and production supervisor for Walt Disney Studios and was choral and vocal director on the 1946 Disney film classic Song of the South. He was also Marilyn Monroe's vocal coach for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) and There's No Business Like Show Business (1954). Darby was also the principal composer of the 1956 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 and co-composer with Elvis Presley. The song was adapted from the Civil War era song "Aura Lee." An avid fan of Nero Wolfe, Rex Stout's fictional detective genius, Darby wrote a detailed biography of Wolfe's home titled The Brownstone House of Nero Wolfe (1983). Ken Darby died January 24, 1992, in the final stages of production of his last book, Hollywood Holyland: The Filming and Scoring of 'The Greatest Story Ever Told' (1992). Awards: Academy Awards: 1956, Winner, Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, The King and I, (shared with Alfred Newman), Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1958, Nominee, Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, South Pacific, (shared with Alfred Newman), Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1959, Winner, Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, Porgy and Bess, (shared with André Previn), Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1961, Nominee, Best Scoring of a Musical Picture, Flower Drum Song, (shared with Alfred Newman), Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1963, Nominee, Best Original Music Score, How the West Was Won, (shared with Alfred Newman), Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1967, Winner, Best Score -- Adaptation or Treatment, Camelot, (shared with Alfred Newman), Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Grammy Awards: 1960, Winner, Best Soundtrack Album, Original Cast, Movie or Television, Porgy and Bess, (shared with André Previn), National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences

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