The list of famous Westporters is vast and well-known. Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Rodney Dangerfield, Bette Davis, Michael Douglas, Rod Serling, Martha Stewart, Harvey Weinstein, Michael Bolton, Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Robert Ludlum, Jim Nantz, Harry Reasoner, Meat Loaf, Nile Rodgers, Neil Sedaka, Frank Deford, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Lindbergh, Fiorello La Guardia, James Comey — and those are only a few.
So why do we never mention Johnny Marks?
This Christmas, it’s appropriate to remember the man who for many years had a home on Green Acre Lane, off South Compo.
He died in 1985 from complications of diabetes. His son still lives here.
Marks wrote “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” — the classic tune that, since its first release by Gene Autry in 1949, has sold nearly 200 million records.
That was just the start. Marks formed his own publishing company — St. Nicholas Music — and churned out a slew of other Christmas classics: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day,” “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree,” “Run, Rudolph, Run” and “Have a Holly Jolly Christmas” among them.
Not bad for a Jewish kid from Mount Vernon, New York.
I’ve tried to find some information on Marks’ life in Westport. It’s hard to come by.
If you remember him, click “Comments” below.
If you’ve got stories of how his songs impacted your life, you can add those too.
Let’s not forget Johnny Marks. He’ll go down in history!