Henry Mancini Heirs Seek to Terminate EMI's Rights to 'Pink Panther' Music (Exclusive)

Henry Mancini Headshot - P 2012
Getty Images

Henry Mancini Headshot - P 2012

EMI Music Publishing could lose its grip on one of the most famous pieces of film music ever created -- "The Pink Panther Theme," written by the late Henry Mancini for the 1963 film.

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Late last month, Mancini's publishing company, Northridge Music Inc., controlled by the composer's heirs, filed a claim at the American Arbitration Association that seeks more than $1.35 million in unpaid "net profits" on music for the original Pink Panther film. The heirs also are seeking punitive damages and want EMI's administration rights terminated due to alleged malfeasance and breach of fiduciary duty.

The Pink Panther was released by United Artists in 1963. The score was nominated for an Oscar the following year, and the jazzy theme music also made the singles charts that year and won three Grammy Awards. It also was prominently featured in the Pink Panther cartoon shorts. For nearly 60 years, the music has endured as one of the more popular tunes learned by young musicians and has been used by such acts as The Brian Setzer Orchestra and Guns N' Roses and in Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle and by Kim Kardashian on Dancing With the Stars.

Northridge is being represented by Todd Bonder at Rosenfeld, Meyer & Susman, who confirmed the arbitration filing.

A spokesperson for EMI Music Publishing, which acquired the music from United Artists many years ago, said the parties couldn't agree on the merits of some of the claims, and, "As this is a private and confidential matter, the only comment EMI will make is that we believe that the arbitrator will reaffirm that our accountings and payments to Northridge are correct.”

Here's a look at Henry Mancini's "Pink Panther Theme"...

E-mail: eriq.gardner@thr.com

Twitter: @eriqgardner