Best known to filmgoers as a lazy laconic character knocking out songs at a piano with ease, Carmichael was in fact a tense artist with an ambition to succeed as a musician. As a songwriter he created academy Award winners as well as standards still sung today, including the evergreen “Star Dust”, the world’s most recorded song. Many of his tunes express a folksiness (“Ole Buttermilk Sky”) reflecting his Indiana poor boy country roots. He was a singer with a special crusty style and a fine idiosyncratic pianist.
Self-taught, he was soon involved in the jazz scene swirling around Bix Beiderbecke. But jazz didn’t pay the bills and it was his songs like "Rockin’ Chair" and “Georgia On my mind" which took him to New York and full-time music making. In 1936 he moved to Hollywood where for the rest of his life he provided hits for movies—as well, of course, as appearing in them. With lyrics by such stellar craftsmen as Johnny Mercer and Frank Loesser he produced such songs as “Two sleepy people” and “In The cool, cool, cool of the evening”. He had his own TV show and settled down to a life of golf, and coin collecting, He continued to construct songs with consummate craft. Ever sly, He once said, about “Star Dust”,” maybe I didn’t write you, but I found you”.