Frank Denny De Vol, also known simply as De Vol (September 20, 1911 - October 27, 1999) was an American arranger, composer and actor.
De Vol was born in Moundsville, West Virginia and raised in Canton, Ohio, where his father was bandleader for the local vaudeville theater and his mother, Minnie Emma Humphreys De Vol, had worked in a sewing shop. DeVol joined his father's band when he was 14, and was a full-time professional musician before he was twenty. He attended Miami University. After a variety of gigs, he was hired by Horace Heidt to play and arrange, but when guitarist Alvino Rey left that band, DeVol went with him. By the early 1940s, De Vol was leading his own band on Mutural Network station KHJ in Los Angeles. He soon became musical director for the network, working with Rudi Vallee, Dinah Shore, Jack Carson, and others, and was appearing himself in some of the on-air skits.
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 and Vic Damone. His single most famous arrangement is probably the haunting string and piano accompaniment to Cole's Nature Boy, which was a US 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 the 1950s De Vol's orchestra played frequently at the Hollywood Palladium under the concert name "Music of the Century".
Here's "Unchained Melody" from above 1959 album.
|De Vol & Helen O'Connell c.1951|
De Vol worked in radio until the early 1950s, when director Robert Aldrich hired him to score a low-budget movie, "World for Ransom." Other studio jobs followed, and by the early 1960s, most of his time was spent writing and conducting music for series such as "My Three Sons" and "The Brady Bunch" and movies like "Pillow Talk," "Good Neighbor Sam," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," and "Krakatoa: East of Java." He won five Oscar nominations for his scores and five Emmys for his television themes and scores. He was in steady demand as an arranger for vocalists such as Tony Bennett, Doris Day, Vic Damone, June Christy, and Peggy Lee. And in his spare moments, he did occasional acting bits, appearing in movies such as "The Parent Trap" before his "Fernwood/America 2 Nite" stint.
De Vol was also a recording artist with Capitol, Columbia, and finally, ABC, and released over a dozen albums of string-laden easy listening music. In 1966–1967, he arranged the soundtrack for the 1967 Columbia Pictures comedy film, The Happening starring Anthony Quinn and co-produced The Supremes #1 American pop hit, "The Happening" alongside Motown producers Holland-Dozier-Holland. In all, De Vol composed music for over 50 motion pictures.
In 1989, after the death of his first wife Grayce, De Vol married the big band-era singer Helen O'Connell in 1991, and together the couple performed on cruise ships for several years until O'Connell's death in 1993. Also during the 90's when well into his eighties, De Vol was active in the Big Band Academy of America. He also spoke at various seminars and social groups about his inspired and humourous experiences.
De Vol died of congestive heart failure on 27 October 1999 at a nursing home in Lafayette, California. He is interred at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Hollywood Hills.(Info edited from Wikipedia & Spaceage Pop)