Monday, November 12, 2007

Pearl Zimney Warnow

Pearl Zimney married Harry Warnow (Raymond Scott) in 1935. She was an essential part of Scott's life in the mid-1930s when he first achieved fame and recognition as a musical enfante terrible. She was present during the brief lifespan of his legendary "powerhouse" Quintette (1937-39), and she accompanied Raymond and his Quints to Hollywood in 1938. She was there during his foray into big band leadership (1939), and when he formed his first commercial electronic lab (Manhattan Research, Inc.) in 1946, the same year he composed the score for the hit Broadway musical Lute Song.

Besides being smart, beautiful, and resourceful, Pearl was an audio engineer (mentored by Scott) who in the 1930s occasionally "manned" the console at Scott's Universal Recorders studios in Manhattan.

"It was very interesting," she later recalled. "I remember once the famous jazz trumpeter Bunny Berigan came up with this singer—I forget her name. The two of them were high as a kite. I didn’t know anything about drugs then. But they were loopy."

Pearl and Harry had two children, Carolyn and Stanley. Stan is currently at work on a documentary about his dad.

"You could never make eye contact with Raymond, at least in his early years," Pearl reflected in a May 2000 interview. "His ability to connect with people, to have a real open relationship, it just wasn’t there—with musicians, with me. Raymond was an original, and I guess you could say a genius, but that encompasses a lot of things. He was different and difficult, and withdrawn. He had some very strange feelings and ideas. Though I loved him, I really did."

Pearl was born on this date in 1910. (She passed away on April 28, 2001.) The above quotes are from an extended interview with Pearl that appears in the Raymond Scott Quintette CD Microphone Music.

Pearl and Harry divorced in 1950. Two years later, she married Larry Winters. Pearl spent the rest of her long, productive, and buoyant life in Mamaroneck, NY.


  1. Thanks Irwin....

    What a lovely remembrance on her birthday. I have been going through some old photos recently; and she
    truly was beautiful. No wonder Dad took so many pictures of her.

    Thinking of her today; and everyday.

  2. As Raymond and Pearl's son, Irwin's elegant and touching tribute has particular resonance for me.

    My mother was, in her own unique way, brilliant and original, a true one of a kind force of nature.
    I've always felt that had she been born later in the 20th century after the flowering of the women's movement, and chosen to have a career as well as children, she could have accomplished great things in the world, as my father did.

    And like my sister not a day goes by when she isn't in my thoughts...