Mack David was born in New York City on July 5, 1912. He originally thought of becoming an attorney, and attended Cornell University and then St. John's University Law School. When his younger brother Hal David was considering careers, Mack advised his brother against becoming a songwriter and urged him to take up a more stable profession. However, he failed to follow his own advice, and instead of following a career in law, Mack David began writing songs on Tin Pan Alley.
His song "Moon Love", written with Mack Davis and Andre Kostelanetz, and based on a theme by Tchaikovsky, was a hit in 1939. In 1945, he wrote the words for Duke Ellington's "I'm Just A Lucky So-And-So," and in 1947, he had a hit with a novelty number "Chi-Baba, Chi-Baba", written with Jerry Livingston and Al Hoffman. While primarily a lyricist, David sometimes also contributed to a song's music, and he wrote both words and music for 1948's "Sunflower" (years later, he filed an infringement of copyright lawsuit over resemblences between this song and Jerry Herman’s “Hello, Dolly").
In 1948, David moved to Hollywood, where he became active in film and television. His songs were featured in the score for the Disney animated featureCinderella (1950), written with Jerry Livingston and Al Hoffman. These songs include "A Dream Is A Wish Your Heart Makes", "The Working Song", and the film's hit song "Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo", which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1950. For another Disney feature Alice in Wonderland (1951), the same team wrote "The Unbirthday Song".
The nomination for "Bibbidy Bobbidi Boo" was the first of eight Academy Award nominations David would receive. The other nominations came for his songs "The Hanging Tree" (1959, title song, with Jerry Livingston), "Bachelor In Paradise" (1961, title song, with Henry Mancini), "Walk On The Wild Side" (1962, title song, with Elmer Bernstein), "It's A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World" (1961, title song, with Ernest Gold), “Hush, Hush, Sweet Charlotte" (1964, title song, with Frank De Vol), "The Ballad of Cat Ballou" (1965, from Cat Ballou, with Jerry Livingston), and "My Wishing Doll" (1966, from Hawaii, with Elmer Bernstein.).
Another great success came in 1950, when he wrote the English-language version of "La Vie en Rose" (French lyric by Edith Piaf, music by Louigny). And in 1961, the Shirelles had a hit with his song "Baby, It's You", written with Burt Bacharach (whose collaboration with Mack's brother Hal David has become legendary) and Barney Williams.
Mack David and Jerry Livingston wrote theme songs together for many successful television series, including Caspar the Friendly Ghost, 77 Sunset Strip, Hawaiian Eye, Bourbon Street Beat and Surfside 6. Their theme song “This is It” for 1960's The Bugs Bunny Hour also became a hit.
In addition to those already mentioned, Mack David's collaborators included John Green, Jimmy Van Heusen, Alex Kramer, Joan Whitney, Count Basie and Franz Waxman.
Mack David died on December 30, 1993 at his home in Rancho Mirage, California.