Cynthia Weil"I last spoke to Mort Shuman about a year ago when we were both on a BBC tribute celebrating BMI’s 50th anniversary. Mort was in a studio in London and my husband, Barry Mann and myself were on our phone, at home in California. I reminded Mort of the first time we met, in 1961, in the reception area of Hill and Range. I was a rank Beginner, clutching my demo nervously, waiting to play it for the professional manager and Mort was lounging in a corner, reading a magazine, a guy oozing confidence, a writer with hits under his belt, someone who obviously know the game.

He introduced himself and we started to talk and he calmed me down, made me laugh, filled me in on what I needed to know and gave me a pep talk so that I almost felt a little confidence rubbing off on me. It meant so much to a novice to have that kind of attention from a pro. He wished me luck and I actually got my first advance that day, $50.

Of course, he didn’t remember that moment, but I have never forgotten it and I’m glad I had the chance to tell him and everyone listening to the show that day how much his kindness meant to me. He was a great talent and a true gentleman, a rare combination.

We will all miss him."

Cynthia Weil

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