Jack Ackerman, 59, veteran songwriter and producer, died April 27 in Los Angeles of a brain tumor.
His first recorded song was “M-M-M” in 1951, sung by Louis Armstrong and written with George Litto and Marty Napoleon. Ackerman went on to many more collaborations with Litto during the ’50s, including those songs he performed himself at Columbia Records under the name Jackie Roy.
One of his first songs that became a hit was “Lasting Love,” sung by Sal Mineo, along with Mineo’s recording of “My Bride.”
In 1957, he tackled a role in John Cassavetes’ film “Shadows.” He also wrote and sang the feature song on the soundtrack for “Beautiful.”
Ackerman next went to Broadway, where he wrote songs for “The Ziegfeld Follies,” starring Beatrice Lillie and Billy DeWolf.
In 1960, he went to Hollywood and worked with Cassavetes again in “Too Late Blues” for Paramount. He joined Stella Stevens (who was starring in the film with Bobby Darin) to co-write the lyrics for David Raksin’s score on that film.
This launched his career in film songwriting, which included title songs for “Stagecoach To Dancers Rock,” “Wild Harvest” and “Tell Me In The Sunlight.” He collaborated with Stevens and Burt Shefter on the songs in “The Last Shot You Hear” for 20th Century Fox. He composed music for another Cassavetes film, “Faces.”
He was the musical director for Cassavetes’ “Husbands” and later acted in the director’s “Machine Gun McCain,” for which he also wrote a song.
He also appeared in “Lepke,” “Capone” and “Stiletto.”
He formed a songwriting collaboration with Billy Preston, having 10 songs recorded by Preston on the Motown and A&M labels. He also wrote songs for Judy Garland, among many others.
Survived by three sisters.