Jimmy Van Heusen with Frank Sinatra in the 1950s. Van Heusen wrote dozens of songs for the crooner and became Sinatra's close friend and confidant.
Jimmy Van Heusen is arguably the biggest star to ever come out of Syracuse. The songwriter spent a career working side by side with musicians like Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby and had his music featured in hundreds of Hollywood films. His work earned him four Academy Awards, a prime time Emmy, three Tony nominations and a Grammy nomination. He co-wrote the songs "Come Fly With Me," "High Hopes" and "Love and Marriage," just to name a few.
Legendary songwriter Jimmy Van Heusen, Mercer's Syracuse counterpart, has none of that. This city boasts no statue, no theater and no play. His lone tribute is a faded star on the greatly unheralded Syracuse Walk of Fame on Salina St.—an honor shared with the likes of Bobcat Goldthwait and Joanna Cassidy.
"Most people can recognize the song or the singer but not usually the songwriter," Babcock said. "It's always an honor to receive an award for the songwriter perspective on Jimmy Van Heusen's behalf."