Frank De Vol

Frank Denny De Vol (September 20, 1911 – October 27, 1999), also known simply as De Vol, was an American arranger, composer and actor.

Frank De Vol
Frank Denny De Vol

September 20, 1911
DiedOctober 27, 1999 (aged 88)
OccupationComposer, actor, arranger
Years active1941–1996
Known forMovie and TV theme songs
  • Grayce Agnes McGinty
    (m. 1935; died 1989)
  • Helen O'Connell
    (m. 1991; died 1993)

Early life and career

De Vol was born in Moundsville in Marshall County in northern West Virginia, and was reared in Canton, Ohio. His father, Herman Frank De Vol, was band-leader of the Grand Opera House in Canton, Ohio,[1] and his mother, Minnie Emma Humphreys De Vol, had worked in a sewing shop. He attended Miami University.

De Vol began composing music when he was 12.[1] When he was 14, he became a member of the Musicians' Union. After playing violin in his father's orchestra and appearances in a Chinese restaurant, he joined the Horace Heidt Orchestra in the 1930s, being responsible for the arrangements. Later, he toured with the Alvino Rey Orchestra, before embarking on his recording career.


By the time De Vol was 16, "he was doing arrangements with professional skill."[1] From the 1940s, De Vol wrote arrangements for the studio recordings of many top singers, including Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughan, Tony Bennett, Dinah Shore, Doris Day, Vic Damone and Jaye P. Morgan. His single most famous arrangement is probably the haunting string and piano accompaniment to Cole's "Nature Boy", which was a United States Number One in 1948. That same year, he released a version of "The Teddy Bears' Picnic" (Capitol Records 15420), that he arranged and sang lead vocals on.

In 1966–1967, he arranged the soundtrack for the 1967 Columbia Pictures comedy film The Happening starring Anthony Quinn and co-produced The Supremes recording of the theme from the film with Motown producers Holland–Dozier–Holland which became a #1 American pop hit later that year.

Mood music

The success of "Nature Boy", recorded for Capitol Records, led to an executive position for De Vol at the rival Columbia Records. There, he recorded a series of orchestral mood music albums under the studio name "Music by De Vol" (which he also used for some of his film and TV work). The 1959 album Bacchanal! (The Passions and Pageantry of Gods and Goddesses of Mythology) is an acclaimed, example of De Vol's mood music; each track is by English composer Albert Harris and is named after a god or goddess of Greek mythology.

Concert appearances

In the 1950s, De Vol's orchestra played frequently at the Hollywood Palladium under the concert name "Music of the Century".


De Vol's orchestra and arrangements were available to radio stations via electrical transcriptions. His work was syndicated by Capitol Transcriptions,[2] for which he also was musical director.[3]


De Vol wrote the scores for many Hollywood movies, receiving Academy Award nominations for four of them: Pillow Talk (1959), Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), Cat Ballou (1965) and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967).

De Vol's numerous scores included Kiss Me Deadly (1955), What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962), McLintock! (1963), The Flight of the Phoenix (1965), The Glass Bottom Boat (1966), The Dirty Dozen (1967), Hustle (1975), Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo (1977) and Herbie Goes Bananas (1980). He also scored many Doris Day comedies and films for director Robert Aldrich.

De Vol also composed the jingle for the Screen Gems' "Dancing Sticks" logo (1963–1965), which appeared on all television series produced by the television division of Columbia Pictures.

Television work

De Vol was musical director (and occasionally seen) on Edgar Bergen's CBS Television prime-time game show Do You Trust Your Wife? (1956-1957). "Frank De Vol's orchestra" was featured on the NBC Television prime-time musical variety series The Lux Show Starring Rosemary Clooney (1957-1958). During this time, he appeared on The Betty White Show (1954) and Rod Cameron's syndicated State Trooper. In 1964 he was seen in an episode during the first season of, My Favorite Martian and several guest spots on different television shows throughout the 1960s. In the 1970s, he appeared as the ironically named dour bandleader Happy Kyne on the talk show satire/parody Fernwood 2 Night (1977) and America 2-Night (1978).

De Vol is best recognized for his television theme tunes, like Family Affair, Gidget, The Brady Bunch and My Three Sons.[4] The My Three Sons theme was musically complex, with a piano playing a triplet obligato (the famous tune "Chopsticks") over the melody in 4
, and was a hit single in 1961. He composed scores for episodes of McCloud and The Love Boat, amongst other work for television.

Beginning in 1969, "The Fuzz" became the theme song of Brazilian television newscast Jornal Nacional. KOOL-TV (later KTSP, now KSAZ-TV) was the first television station to use the song. WKBW-TV also used the theme music for the first version of what would eventually become known as Eyewitness News. It would later be replaced by the Action News theme Move Closer to Your World.


De Vol was also an actor specializing in deadpan comic characters, especially as the dour bandleader Happy Kyne on the talk show parodies Fernwood 2 Night and America 2-Night, in 1977-78. He also made guest appearances on TV in I'm Dickens, He's Fenster, I Dream of Jeannie, Gidget, Bonanza, Petticoat Junction - (1967 episode: "That Was the Night That Was" & 1969 episode: "The Organ Fund" - as Reverend Barton), Mickey starring Mickey Rooney, The Brady Bunch, Get Smart (at least 2 appearances as Professor Carleton) and The Jeffersons. De Vol had also comic roles as Chief Eaglewood, the head of the Thundercloud Boys' Camp in 1961's The Parent Trap, and as the onscreen narrator in Jerry Lewis's 1967 comedy film The Big Mouth.

De Vol also appeared as a bandleader in the last season of My Three Sons, in addition to writing the theme music and serving as in-house composer for most of the show's twelve seasons. He also scored most episodes of Family Affair, including many of the same incidental music cues as My Three Sons.

In 1980, he appeared in the second season of Diff'rent Strokes, episode 22 called, "The Slumber Party".

De Vol preferred to be credited as "Frank De Vol" for his acting appearances, and as "De Vol" for his musical work.[5]

Personal life and death

De Vol was initiated as an honorary member of the Gamma Omega chapter of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, the national fraternity for men in music, in 1962.

In the mid 1990s, when well into his eighties, De Vol was active in the Big Band Academy of America.

De Vol was married twice. His first marriage was to Grayce Agnes McGinty in 1935. This 54-year marriage produced two daughters, Linda Morehouse and Donna Copeland, and ended with Grayce's death in 1989. His second marriage was to television actress and big band singer Helen O'Connell from 1991 until her death in 1993.

De Vol died of congestive heart failure on October 27, 1999, in Lafayette, California.[6] He is interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Hollywood Hills.




Academy Award nominations


  1. ^ a b c Kramer, Lillian (March 16, 1947). "Doubling in Laughs" (PDF). Radio Life. p. 38. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
  2. ^ "Capitol Transcriptions advertisement" (PDF). Broadcasting. June 28, 1948. p. 61. ISSN 1068-6827. Retrieved May 21, 2017.
  3. ^ "Too Short for a Head". Billboard. April 20, 1946. p. 12. ISSN 0006-2510.
  4. ^ Woo, Elaine (October 29, 1999). "Studio Composer Frank DeVol Dies". Los Angeles Times.
  5. ^ McLintock! (DVD commentary).
  6. ^ Saxon, Wolfgang (October 30, 1999). "Frank DeVol, 88, a Composer For Movies and TV Sitcoms". The New York Times.

External links

Alone Together (Tony Bennett album)

Alone Together is an album by American singer Tony Bennett. It was originally released in 1960 on Columbia as CL 1471. It almost exclusively features string arrangements of standards, with a choir, harp accompaniment and sparse percussion in places. It is among the most obscure Bennett recordings. So far, it has been released on CD only in Japan by Sony/CBS.

Ella Fitzgerald Sings Sweet Songs for Swingers

Ella Fitzgerald Sings Sweet Songs for Swingers is a 1959 album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, recorded with a studio Orchestra arranged and conducted by Frank DeVol.

Ella focuses on well known jazz standards by lesser known songwriters, a useful counterbalance to her continuing songbooks project, which at this time found her in the midst of recording the epic George and Ira Gershwin Songbook.

Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas

Ella Wishes You a Swinging Christmas is a 1960 album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, recorded in the summer of 1960, with a studio orchestra arranged and conducted by Frank DeVol.

It is Fitzgerald's only Verve complete album of Christmas tunes. Verve had issued a 7" 45rpm single in 1959, featuring "The Christmas Song" with "The Secret of Christmas" on the b-side, both were recorded with Russ Garcia and His Orchestra in September 1959. The album has been reissued several times and there have been variations to the sleeve's artwork.

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner

Guess Who's Coming to Dinner is a 1967 American comedy-drama film produced and directed by Stanley Kramer, and written by William Rose. It stars Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, and Katharine Hepburn, and features Hepburn's niece Katharine Houghton.

The film was one of the few films of the time to depict an interracial marriage in a positive light, as interracial marriage historically had been illegal in most states of the United States, and still was illegal in 17 states—mostly Southern states—until 12 June 1967, six months before the film was released, roughly two weeks after Tracy filmed his final scene (and two days after his death), when anti-miscegenation laws were struck down by the Supreme Court in Loving v. Virginia. The film's Oscar-nominated score was composed by Frank De Vol.The film is notable for being the ninth and final on-screen pairing of Tracy and Hepburn, with filming ending just 17 days before Tracy's death. Hepburn never saw the completed film, saying the memories of Tracy were too painful. The film was released in December 1967, six months after his death. In 2017, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".

Hello, Dolly! (Ella Fitzgerald album)

Hello, Dolly! is a 1964 (see 1964 in music) studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald.

"Hello, Dolly!," "People," "Can't Buy Me Love," and "The Sweetest Sounds" were recorded in London, England, on April 7. The other eight tracks were recorded in New York City on March 3 and March 4. Three songs recorded at the latter sessions remain unreleased: "There! I've Said It Again," "I'll See You in My Dreams," and "There Are Such Things." It is unknown whether the recordings exist in the Verve Records vaults today.

Her version of the Beatles song "Can't Buy Me Love" was a minor hit single in 1964, peaking at #34 in the UK singles chart.

Hello, Love

Hello, Love is a 1960 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, recorded over two sessions in 1957 and 1959.

The album focuses on well known songs not included in Ella's epic Songbooks project, and several of the songs are tunes that she had recently recorded in duet with Louis Armstrong.

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte

Hush...Hush, Sweet Charlotte is a 1964 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Robert Aldrich, and starring Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland, Joseph Cotten, Agnes Moorehead and Mary Astor in her final film role.The movie was adapted for the screen by Henry Farrell and Lukas Heller, from Farrell's unpublished short story What Ever Happened to Cousin Charlotte? It received seven Academy Award nominations.

I Left My Heart in San Francisco (album)

I Left My Heart in San Francisco is an album by Tony Bennett, released in 1962 on Columbia Records. It peaked at #5 on the Billboard pop albums chart, and has been certified platinum by the RIAA. Originally available as Columbia rekey CL 1869 (mono) and CS 8669 (stereo), it is one of the best-selling albums of Bennett's career.

Tony Bennett won two 1962 Grammy Awards for the title song: Record of the Year and Best Solo Vocal Performance, Male.

Like Someone in Love (Ella Fitzgerald album)

Like Someone in Love is a 1957 studio album by the American jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald, with a studio orchestra arranged and conducted by Frank DeVol. This album represents a fine example of Ella's singing from this period, recorded at the same time as her albums with Louis Armstrong.

Long Ago and Far Away (Tony Bennett album)

Long Ago and Far Away is an album by American singer Tony Bennett. It was originally released in 1958 on Columbia as CL 1186.

Margaret Whiting

Margaret Eleanor Whiting (July 22, 1924 – January 10, 2011) was an American popular music and country music singer who first made her reputation during the 1940s and 1950s.

Summer of '42 (Tony Bennett album)

Summer of '42 is an album by Tony Bennett, released in 1972. The album reached a peak position of number 182 on the Billboard 200. It was arranged by Torrie Zito, Robert Farnon, Marion Evans and Frank De Vol.Billboard reviewed Summer of '42 upon its release and wrote that "Bennett comes up with a winner in this package of exceptional performances of some of today's best material".

Sunshine of Your Love (album)

Sunshine of Your Love is a 1969 live album by Ella Fitzgerald. Recorded at the Venetian Room, The Fairmont San Francisco, in October 1968. The main body of works performed here are

contemporary pop songs from the late 1960s. Originally released on the German found jazz label MPS Records the album was re-issued on CD, with alternative artwork, in 1996 by Verve Records.

Texas Across the River

Texas Across The River is a 1966 western film comedy/satire directed by Michael Gordon and starring Dean Martin, Alain Delon, Rosemary Forsyth and Joey Bishop.

The Ballad of Josie

The Ballad of Josie is a 1967 Technicolor American comedy western film directed by Andrew V. McLaglen and starring Doris Day, Peter Graves and George Kennedy. It humorously tackles 1960s themes of feminism in a traditional Western setting.

The film featured the last acting role for William Talman. It was filmed on two locations in Thousand Oaks, California: North Ranch and Wildwood Regional Park.

The Thrill of It All (film)

The Thrill of It All is a 1963 romantic comedy film directed by Norman Jewison and starring Doris Day, James Garner, Arlene Francis, and ZaSu Pitts. The screenplay was written by Larry Gelbart and Carl Reiner.

Reiner had originally conceived the project for Judy Holliday, who developed cancer and had to bow out of the project, according to Reiner's reminiscence during his videotaped "Archive of American Television" interview. (Holliday died of cancer in 1965 at the age of 43.)

The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch

The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch is a 1982 American made-for-television western romantic comedy film starring Priscilla Barnes, Lee Horsley, Joan Collins, Donny Osmond, Morgan Brittany and Lisa Whelchel from executive producer Aaron Spelling. It premiered on ABC on October 31, 1982 and was later syndicated to cable television for rebroadcast.

To My Wonderful One

To My Wonderful One is an album by American singer Tony Bennett. It was originally recorded in 1959 and released in 1960 on Columbia as CL 1429.

Trombone and Voices

Trombone and Voices is an album by J. J. Johnson with an Orchestra and Choir arranged and conducted by Frank De Vol which was released on the Columbia label.

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