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Barry Manilow

MANILOW, BARRY (Barry Alan Pincus; 1943– ), U.S. singer, producer, and songwriter. Born in New York, Manilow graduated from Eastern District High School in Brooklyn, after which he attended the Juilliard School of Music. Manilow entered the music business writing commercial jingles, such as "I'm stuck on Band-Aids." He became rich singing the popular "You Deserve a Break Today" (1973) commercial for the McDonald's hamburger empire. Soon after, Manilow became Bette Midler's record producer and then turned performer himself. His first record, Mandy (1974), went straight to number one on the charts and sold four million singles. Manilow then adapted a Chopin sonata and turned it into the hit song "Magic" (1975). Subsequently he recorded a long succession of top-selling singles (not all of which he wrote), such as "It's a Miracle" (1975), "I Write the Songs" (1976), "This One's for You" (1976), "Weekend in New England" (1976), "Looks Like We Made It" (1977), "Copacabana" (1978), "Can't Smile without You" (1978), "Even Now" (1978), "Ready to Take a Chance Again" (1978), "What a Friend You Turned Out to Be" (1983), and "Sometimes When We Touch" (1997). Rated the number one adult contemporary artist of all time, Manilow had an unprecedented run of 25 consecutive Top 40 hits in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1978, five of his albums were on the charts at the same time, a record that has been equaled only by Frank Sinatra and Johnny Mathis.

Among his innumerable honors and awards, Manilow won a Grammy ("Copacabana," 1978); an Emmy (The Barry Manilow Special, 1977); and a Tony (Barry Manilow on Broadway, 1977); and he was nominated for an Academy Award (Best Song: "Ready to Take a Chance Again" in Foul Play, 1978). In 2002 he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in New York.

In 1994 his two-act musical Barry Manilow's CopacabanaThe Musical premiered in the U.K. His next theatrical project, Harmony, was a musical based on the true story of the Comedian Harmonists, a talented group of male singers (three of whom were Jewish) who performed in Nazi Germany until 1934.

With more than 30 albums to his credit and reportedly having made his last grand tour, Manilow signed a long-term contract with the Las Vegas Hilton theater, performing Barry Manilow: Music and Passion.

Manilow wrote the autobiographical Sweet Life: Adventures on the Way to Paradise in 1987.


P. Butler, Barry Manilow: A Biography (2001); M. Strunk, The Whole World Sings: The Fans behind Barry Manilow (1999); A. Clarke, The Magic of Barry Manilow (1981); T. Jasper, Barry Manilow (1981).

Sources: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2007 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.