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Henry Nemo

Actor, Lyricist, Composer

(1914 - )

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Henry Nemo (1914-) was an actor and songwriter and apparently took his nickname, “The Neem,” from a role he played in 1947’s Song of the Thin Man. That same year he wrote the title song for the screwball comedy, Out of the Blue. He wrote lyrics for several Duke Ellington compositions, the most famous of which, “I Let a Song Go Out of My Heart” (1938), also included collaborators John Redmond and Irving Mills. He collaborated with Mills on “Blame It on My Last Affair,” which enjoyed a short run of popularity in 1939. That same year he wrote a novelty tune about a hep cat and a square with the Yiddish title “A Bee Gezindt.” It was picked up by Cab Calloway and Mildred Bailey and later recorded by Dizzy Gillespie.

In 1941 Nemo wrote both words and music for the enduring standard “Don’t Take Your Love from Me” which has been recorded by everyone from Doris Day to Artie Shaw to John Coltrane. That same year he wrote “‘Tis Autumn,” which was recorded by the bands of Benny Goodman and Les Brown but didn’t gain in popularity until Nat King Cole had a hit with it in 1949.

In 1947 Nemo contributed songs to a little known film, Sarge Goes to College, which featured several jazz musicians--Wingy Manone, Les Paul, Jess Stacy, and Joe Venuti.

Nemo played a role in the 1969 film The Plot Against Harry which was not properly promoted at the time and quickly disappeared. It was rediscovered and reissued in 1989 and has enjoyed acclaim as a fine representation of 1960s indie film work. Nemo also contributed songs to the 1950 Esther Williams/Van Johnson vehicle, Duchess of Idaho.

- Sandra Burlingame

Live at Carnegie Hall Dec. 11, 1943

Duke Ellington

The Artie Shaw Story

Artie Shaw

52 Original Recordings

Nat King Cole
Reading and Viewing

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William Powell, Myrna Loy, Keenan Wynn, Dean Stockwell, Phillip Reed

Song of the Thin Man

Warner Home Video


William Powell/Myrna Loy

Song of the Thin Man

MGM (Warner)


Esther Williams/Van Johnson

Duchess of Idaho

MGM (Video & DVD)


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