Irving Berlin was an American composer and lyricist considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history. His music forms a great part of the Great American Songbook. Born in Imperial Russia, Berlin arrived in the United States at the age of five, he published his first song, "Marie from Sunny Italy", in 1907, receiving 33 cents for the publishing rights, had his first major international hit, "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911. He was an owner of the Music Box Theatre on Broadway, it is believed that Berlin could not read sheet music, was such a limited piano player that he could only play in the key of F-sharp unless using his custom piano equipped with a transposing lever."Alexander's Ragtime Band" sparked an international dance craze in places as far away as Berlin's native Russia, which "flung itself into the ragtime beat with an abandon bordering on mania." Over the years he was known for writing music and lyrics in the American vernacular: uncomplicated and direct, with his stated aim being to "reach the heart of the average American," whom he saw as the "real soul of the country."
In doing so, said Walter Cronkite, at Berlin's 100th birthday tribute, he "helped write the story of this country, capturing the best of who we are and the dreams that shape our lives."He wrote hundreds of songs, many becoming major hits, which made him famous before he turned thirty. During his 60-year career he wrote an estimated 1,500 songs, including the scores for 20 original Broadway shows and 15 original Hollywood films, with his songs nominated eight times for Academy Awards. Many songs became popular themes and anthems, including "Alexander's Ragtime Band", "Easter Parade", "Puttin' on the Ritz", "Cheek to Cheek", "White Christmas", "Happy Holiday", "Anything You Can Do", "There's No Business Like Show Business", his Broadway musical and 1943 film This is the Army, with Ronald Reagan, had Kate Smith singing Berlin's "God Bless America", first performed in 1938. Berlin's songs have reached the top of the charts 25 times and have been extensively re-recorded by numerous singers including The Andrews Sisters, Eddie Fisher, Al Jolson, Fred Astaire, Ethel Merman, Louis Armstrong, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Elvis Presley, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand, Linda Ronstadt, Rosemary Clooney, Diana Ross, Bing Crosby, Sarah Vaughan, Ruth Etting, Fanny Brice, Marilyn Miller, Rudy Vallée, Nat King Cole, Billie Holiday, Doris Day, Jerry Garcia, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Buble, Lady Gaga, Christina Aguilera.
Composer Douglas Moore sets Berlin apart from all other contemporary songwriters, includes him instead with Stephen Foster, Walt Whitman, Carl Sandburg, as a "great American minstrel"—someone who has "caught and immortalized in his songs what we say, what we think about, what we believe." Composer George Gershwin called him "the greatest songwriter that has lived", composer Jerome Kern concluded that "Irving Berlin has no place in American music—he is American music." Berlin was born on May 1888, in the Russian Empire. Although Berlin's family came from the shtetel of Tolochin, documents say that he was born in Tyumen, Siberia, he was one of eight children of Lena Lipkin Beilin. His father, a cantor in a synagogue, uprooted the family to America, as did many other Jewish families in the late 19th century. On September 14, 1893, the family arrived in New York City. After their arrival at Ellis Island, the name "Beilin" was changed to "Baline". According to biographer Laurence Bergreen, as an adult Berlin admitted to no memories of his first five years in Russia except for one: "he was lying on a blanket by the side of a road, watching his house burn to the ground.
By daylight the house was in ashes." As an adult, Berlin said he was unaware of being raised in abject poverty since he knew no other life. Berlins were part of hundreds of thousands of other Jewish families that emigrated to the United States in the late 1800s - early 1900s, escaping discrimination and brutal pogroms. Mayer, the Warner brothers; when they reached Ellis Island, Israel Beilin was put in a pen with his brother and five sisters until immigration officials declared them fit to be allowed into the city. After their arrival in New York City, the Baline family lived in a basement flat on Monroe Street, moved to a three-room tenement at 330 Cherry Street, his father, unable to find comparable work as a cantor in New York, took a job at a kosher meat market and gave Hebrew lessons on the side, to support his family. He died a few years when Irving was thirteen years old. Now, with only a few years of schooling, eight-year-old Irving began helping to support his family, he became a newspaper boy.
One day while delivering newspapers, according to Berlin's biographer and friend, Alexander Woollcott, he stopped to look at a ship departing for China and became so entranced that he didn't see a swinging crane, which knocked him into the river. When he was fished out after going down for the third time, he was still holding in his clenched fist the five pennies he earned that day, his mother took a job as a midwife, three of his sisters worked wrapping cigars, common for immigrant girls. His older brother worked in a sweatshop assembling shirts; each evening, when the family came home from their day's work, Bergreen writes, "they would deposit the coins they had earned that day into Lena's outspread apron." Music historian Philip Furia writes
Political life of Frank Sinatra
Throughout his life, Frank Sinatra, the musician and actor, was involved in many different political activities in the United States. He held positive views toward African Americans at a time when much of the United States still had segregation. Sinatra held differing political views throughout his life. Sinatra's parents had immigrated to the United States in 1897, respectively, his mother, Dolly Sinatra, was a Democratic Party ward leader. After sending a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt in support of the president's stewardship, Sinatra was invited to meet Roosevelt at the White House, where he agreed to become part of the Democratic party's voter registration drives, campaigned for the Democrats in the 1944 presidential election, he contributed $7500 directly to the Democratic campaign fund, was quoted by a Democratic flyer as saying " will make Young America's dream a reality". He made national broadcasts on the radio in support, spoke at Carnegie Hall, spoke at Madison Square Garden on October 29, 1944, a week before the election.
According to Jo Carroll Silvers, in his younger years Sinatra had "ardent liberal" sympathies, was "so concerned about poor people that he was always quoting Henry Wallace". He was outspoken on racism towards blacks and Italians from early on. In November 1945 Sinatra was invited by the mayor of Gary, Indiana to try to settle a strike by white students of Froebel High School against the "Pro-Negro" policies of the new principal. Sinatra outraged the mayor with his remarks about how to address the problem, which he compared it to the racial policies of Nazism, criticized the people involved in the dispute who had nothing to do with the school, his comments, while praised by liberal publications, led to accusations by some that he was a Communist. Sinatra responded by saying: "I don't like Communists, I have nothing against any organization except the Knights of Columbus". In the 1948 presidential election, Sinatra campaigned for President Harry S. Truman. In 1952 and 1956, he campaigned for Adlai Stevenson.
Of all the U. S. Presidents he associated with during his career, he was closest to John F. Kennedy. Sinatra invited Kennedy to Hollywood and Las Vegas, the two would womanize and enjoy parties together. Kennedy enjoyed hearing inside gossip about their romances from him. In 1960 Sinatra and his friends — Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. - campaigned for Kennedy throughout the United States. In January 1961 Sinatra and Peter Lawford organized the Inaugural Gala in Washington, DC, held on the evening before President Kennedy was sworn into office; the event, featuring many notable entertainment figures, was an enormous success, raising a large amount of money for the Democratic Party. Sinatra's move toward the Republican Party seems to have begun when he was snubbed by President Kennedy in favor of Bing Crosby, a fellow singer and a Republican, for Kennedy's visit to Palm Springs, in 1962. Kennedy had planned to stay at Sinatra's home over the Easter holiday weekend, but decided to stay with Crosby because of Sinatra's alleged connections to organized crime.
Sinatra had invested a lot of his own money in upgrading the facilities at his home in anticipation of the President's visit, fitting it with a heliport and building a large guest house to seat 40 people. Sinatra was fuming and "deeply humiliated" at being rejected, smashing up the concrete of the heliport himself with a sledgehammer, he blamed Lawford and Bobby Kennedy for the decision, created a rift between Lawford and the other Rat Pack members, cutting him out of subsequent films. Yet Sinatra never said a bad word about Kennedy himself, despite the humiliation and change in political affiliation, he still mourned when Kennedy was assassinated. According to his daughter Nancy, Sinatra learned of Kennedy's assassination while filming a scene of Robin and the 7 Hoods in Burbank. Sinatra finished filming the scene, returned to his Palm Springs home, sobbed in his bedroom for three days; when he learned that Kennedy's killer Lee Harvey Oswald had watched Suddenly just days before the assassination, he withdrew it from circulation, it only became distributed again in the late 1980s.
Sinatra remained a supporter of the Democratic Party until the early 1970s when he switched his allegiance to the Republican Party as the Democratic Party under George McGovern took a sharp turn to the left, in conflict with his more traditional values. The first sign of Sinatra's break from the Democratic Party came in 1970 when he endorsed Ronald Reagan for a second term as Governor of California. In July 1972, after a lifetime of supporting Democratic presidential candidates, Sinatra announced he could not support the left-ward turn of the party and its candidate, George McGovern, would therefore support Republican U. S. President Richard Nixon for re-election in the 1972 presidential election, his switch to the Republican Party was now official. Sinatra said. During Nixon's Presidency, Sinatra visited the White House on several occasions. From the late 1960s onward, Sinatra was outspoken about various conflicts in the Middle East. On the eve of the Six-Day War in 1967 he sent a wire to President Lyndon Johnson "urging him to condemn the'outrageous' actions of Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser".
He gave a concert at th
Frankly Sentimental is the fourth studio album by Frank Sinatra, released on June 20, 1949 as a set of four 78 rpm records and a 10" LP album. The tracks were conducted by Axel Stordahl and his orchestra; the album is composed of eight songs recorded in eight separate sessions in 1946 and 1947. "Body and Soul" – 3:19 "Laura" – 3:12 "Fools Rush In" – 3:04 "Spring Is Here" – 2:43 "One For My Baby" "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" "When You Awake" "It Never Entered My Mind" – 3:34 Frank Sinatra – Vocals Axel Stordahl – Arranger, Conductor LOS ANGELES MUSICIANS – 1946 TO 1947: William Bloom, Werner Callies, Walter Edelstein, Sam Freed, David Frisina, Howard Halbert, Sol Kindler, Morris King, Eugene Lamas, Dan Lube, Mischa Russell, Felix Slatkin, Gerald Vinci, Abraham Hochstein, Alexander Neiman, Stanley Spiegelman, Dave Sterkin, Fred Goerner, John Sewell, Julius Tannenbaum, Ann Mason, Heinie Beau, Fred Dornbach, Herbert Haymer, Jules Kinsler, Harry Klee, Clyde Hurley, Manny Klein, Rubin "Zeke" Zarchy, Hoyt Bohannon, George Jenkins, Edward Kuczborski, Richard Perissi, Mark McIntyre, Dave Barbour, Allan Reuss, Phil Stephens, Ray Hagan NEW YORK MUSICIANS – 1947: Fred Buldrini, Mac Ceppos, Sid Harris, Maurice Hershaft, Harry Katzman, Howard Kay, Sylvan Kirsner, Leo Kruczek, Felix Orlewitz, Merle Pitt, Raoul Polikian, Samuel Rand, Julius Schachter, Zelly Smirnoff, Harry Urbont, Jack Zyde, Harold Colletta, Solomon Deutsch, Harold Furmansky, Isadore Zir, Maurice Brown, Armand Kaproff, George Ricci, Elaine Vito Ricci, Ernie Caceres, Harold Feldman, Bernard Kaufman, Mitch Miller, Toots Mondello, Hymie Schertzer, Wolfe Taninbaum, Milt Yaner, Andy Ferretti, Chris Griffin, Bobby Hackett, John Lausen, Red Solomon, George Arus, William Pritchard, William Rausch, Anthony Russo, Joseph Singer, Johnny Guarnieri, Bob Kitsis, Matty Golizio, Trigger Alpert, Johnny Blowers, Norris "Bunny" Shawker
Richard A. Whiting
Richard Armstrong Whiting was an American composer of popular songs, including the standards "Hooray for Hollywood", "Ain't We Got Fun?" and "On the Good Ship Lollipop". He wrote lyrics and film scores most notably for the standard "She's Funny That Way", he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936 for "When Did You Leave Heaven" from the movie Sing, Baby Sing. Richard Whiting was born in Peoria, into a musical family, his father, Frank Whiting, was gifted violinist. Together they instilled a love of music in their son and worked towards nurturing his natural gift of piano playing, he attended the Harvard Military School in Los Angeles. Upon his graduation, Whiting started a vaudeville act with his college friend Marshall Neilan; the pair toured the U. S. writing songs and playing the piano. Neither one had the stage presence or singing talent to become full-time performers, they broke up the duo and went their separate ways: Neilan to Hollywood, where he would go on to be a successful film director and actor, Whiting to Detroit to try to jump-start a career as a professional songwriter.
In 1913 Whiting began his career as a song plugger for Jerome H. Remick publishing company. Within a year he was the manager of the Detroit office, being paid US$25 per week; as an occasional talent scout, Whiting nurtured the careers of several songwriters from the day, most notably George Gershwin. This act of kindness resulted in a lifelong friendship between the two powerhouse composers. To supplement his income at the time, Whiting worked with a local hotel's Hawaiian band, playing piano in light blackface, earning him an extra $10 a week. In 1914 Whiting had his first two hit songs: "I Wonder Where My Lovin' Man Has Gone" and "It's Tulip Time in Holland." The latter song became a massive hit. Whiting received none of the royalties, having sold off the publishing rights to Remick in exchange for a Steinway Grand. During his time at Remick Whiting had a substantial output with former bank-clerk Ray Egan, including the beloved 1918 classic, "Till We Meet Again"; the song became the largest sheet music seller of all time today: at last count the song was said to have sold over 11 million copies.
Other hit songs written by Whiting during his time at Remick include "Where the Black-Eyed Susans Grow", "The Japanese Sandman", "Bimini Bay", "Ain't We Got Fun?" and "Ukulele Lady". In 1929 Whiting moved to Hollywood, where there were more opportunities for songwriters during the Depression. In Hollywood he wrote a number of classic songs. With Johnny Mercer he wrote the theme song of Tinseltown, "Hooray for Hollywood", shortly before his death. During his career, Whiting collaborated with such songwriting giants as BG DeSylva, Johnny Mercer, Neil Moret, Leo Robin, Ralph Rainger, Gus Kahn, Oscar Hammerstein II, Haven Gillespie, Seymour Simons, Nacio Herb Brown, Harry Akst, Walter Donaldson, Ray Egan, Sidney Clare, to produce a number of hits, he wrote a number of scores for Broadway plays. In the film, Transatlantic Merry-Go-Round, a song performed by The Boswell Sisters, titled "Rock and Roll", written by Richard A. Whiting and Sidney Clare, is sometimes credited as the first use of that term.
Whiting died from a heart attack in 1938 at the height of his career. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class in 1970. A tribute to Whiting's music, along with a medley of his best-known songs, formed part of the 1980 Broadway musical A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine, his Steinway grand piano was donated to the Great American Songbook Foundation by his granddaughter Debbi and can be seen on display. Whiting was married to the former Eleanor Youngblood, a manager whose clients included Sophie Tucker, he was the father of singer/actress Margaret Whiting and actress Barbara Whiting Smith, the grandson of Rep. Richard H. Whiting. Toot Sweet George White's Scandals of 1919 Take a Chance which featured two major hits with music by Whiting "You're an Old Smoothie," and "Eadie Was a Lady" 1916 "Coaling Up in Colon Town". L: Raymond Egan 1917 "Bravest Heart of All". L: Raymond Egan 1917 "I Wonder Where My Buddies Are To-Night". L: Raymond Egan and Billy Rose 1918 "Dress Up Your Dollars in Khaki".
L: Lister R. Alwood 1918 "I'll Love You More for Losing You a While". L: Raymond Egan 1919 "Eyes of the Army". L: Raymond Egan 1919 "Hand in Hand Again". L: Raymond Egan Original Music by Richard A. Whiting, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II Act 1 consists of "I Love Him, the Rat" sung by Anita Allen and Joe Butler "Free For All" sung by Michael Byrne and The Gang "The Girl Next Door" sung by Anita Allen and Steve Potter, Jr. "Living in Sin" sung by Gracie Maynard, Joan Summer, Joe Butler and Andy Bradford "Just Eighteen" sung by Joan Summer and Andy Bradford "Not That I Care" sung by Anita Allen and Steve Potter, Jr. "Slumber Song" Sung by Marishka Tarasov and Michael Byrne Act 2 consists of "When Your Boy Becomes a Man" sung by Silver Dollar Kate and Anita Allen "Tonight" sung by Marishka Tarasov and Anita Allen "Nevada Moonlight" sung by Joe Butler, Gracie Maynard and EnsembleRichar
Evelyn Ebersis Young was an American film actress. At the height of her career, in 1940, she appeared in 9 feature films, she was the leading female actress in The Wildcat of Tucson and Prairie Schooners, playing alongside Wild Bill Elliott and Dub Taylor in a Wild Bill Hickok series. Young is familiar to fans of The Three Stooges as the wife of jealous husband/drill sergeant Richard Fiske in the film Boobs in Arms. Young appeared in five films with the Stooges. In 1939, Young had an uncredited part in the Stooges' short film Three Sappy People. In 1940 she acted in five short films. Of the shorts, four more were with The Stooges, with Mrs. Dare in Boobs in Arms best noted and the only when credited in the titles. Young's theme in Boobs in Arms was summarized in her first long phrase: "I'm afraid my husband doesn't love me anymore!" The other short with Young's participation was The Spook Speaks with Buster Keaton. In April 1940, The New York Times reported that Young was to receive a leading role in Babies for Sale.
Young received lead roles in other Columbia films but that of Babies for Sale went to her friend Rochelle Hudson. The New York Times described Young as "a child star of fifteen years ago, known as Evelyn Jennings". An Evelyn Jennings played her sole role of Agnes Jennings in the 1925 silent film The Overland Limited 15 years earlier. Young played the character of Sadie among ten female "hobos" in the action film Girls of the Road, she was The Wildcat of Tucson. Dorothy Andre was her stunt double in The Wildcat of Tucson. On September 24, 1940 The New York Times published that Young had been terminated at Columbia Pictures. While the studio released movies with her participation until the last day of December that year, this report coincides with the end of Young's acting career. Evelyn Ebersis Young was born November 1915 in Washington State, her mother's maiden name was Rhodes. At the age of 56, on March 27, 1971 Young married Nicholas Pisani in California. Violinist Nick Pisani, a recording musician for Bing Crosby, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, was born in 1907 and would survive his wife by nearly four years.
In 1972, Young commented to the Associated Press on the untimely death of her friend and fellow Columbia actress, Rochelle Hudson. Hudson had died from a heart attack at the age of 55. Young died on February 14, 1983 in Orange, aged 67. Evelyn Young on IMDb Evelyn Young on AllMovie Evelyn Young on American Film Institute Evelyn Young on Kinopoisk Evelyn Young on ThreeStooges.net Evelyn Jennings on IMDb Evelyn Young footage from Three Stooges films on YouTube
Harold Arlen was an American composer of popular music who composed over 500 songs, a number of which have become known worldwide. In addition to composing the songs for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz, including the classic "Over the Rainbow", Arlen is a regarded contributor to the Great American Songbook. "Over the Rainbow" was voted the 20th century's No. 1 song by the Recording Industry Association of America and the National Endowment for the Arts. Arlen was born in New York, United States, the child of a cantor, his twin brother died the next day. He learned to play the piano as a youth, formed a band as a young man, he achieved some local success as a pianist and singer before moving to New York City in his early twenties, where he worked as an accompanist in vaudeville and changed his name to Harold Arlen. Between 1926 and about 1934, Arlen appeared as a band vocalist on records by The Buffalodians, Red Nichols, Joe Venuti, Leo Reisman, Eddie Duchin singing his own compositions. In 1929, Arlen composed his first well-known song: "Get Happy".
Throughout the early and mid-1930s, Arlen and Koehler wrote shows for the Cotton Club, a popular Harlem night club, as well as for Broadway musicals and Hollywood films. Arlen and Koehler's partnership resulted in a number of hit songs, including the familiar standards "Let's Fall in Love" and "Stormy Weather". Arlen continued to perform as a pianist and vocalist with some success, most notably on records with Leo Reisman's society dance orchestra. Arlen's compositions have always been popular with jazz musicians because of his facility at incorporating a blues feeling into the idiom of the American popular song. In the mid-1930s, Arlen married, spent increasing time in California, writing for movie musicals, it was at this time that he began working with lyricist E. Y. "Yip" Harburg. In 1938, the team was hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to compose songs for The Wizard of Oz, the most famous of, "Over the Rainbow", for which they won the Academy Award for Best Music, Original Song, they wrote "Down with Love", "Lydia the Tattooed Lady", for Groucho Marx in At the Circus in 1939, "Happiness is a Thing Called Joe", for Ethel Waters in the 1943 movie Cabin in the Sky.
Arlen was a longtime friend and onetime roommate of actor Ray Bolger, who starred in The Wizard of Oz. In the 1940s, he teamed up with lyricist Johnny Mercer, continued to write hit songs like "Blues in the Night", "Out of this World", "That Old Black Magic", "Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive", "Any Place I Hang My Hat Is Home", "Come Rain or Come Shine" and "One for My Baby". Arlen composed two defining tunes which bookend Judy Garland's musical persona: as a yearning, innocent girl in "Over the Rainbow" and a world-weary, "chic chanteuse" with "The Man That Got Away", the last written for the 1954 version of the film A Star Is Born. Arlen died of cancer at his Manhattan apartment at the age of eighty-one. 1905 Arlen born in Buffalo, New York 1920 He formed his first professional band, Hyman Arluck's Snappy Trio. 1921 Against his parents' wishes. 1923 With his new band – The Southbound Shufflers, performed on the Crystal Beach lake boat "Canadiana" during the summer of 1923. 1924 Performed at Lake Shore Manor during the summer of 1924.
1924 Wrote his first song, collaborating with friend Hyman Cheiffetz to write "My Gal, My Pal". Copyrighting the song as "My Gal, Won't You Please Come Back to Me?" and listed lyrics by Cheiffetz and music by Harold Arluck. 1925 Makes his way to New York City with The Buffalodians, with Arlen playing piano. 1926 Had first published song, collaborating with Dick George to compose "Minor Gaff" under the name Harold Arluck. 1928 Chaim Arluck renames himself a name that combined his parents' surnames. 1929 Landed a singing and acting role as Cokey Joe in the musical The Great Day. 1929 Composed his first well known song – "Get Happy" – under the name Harold Arlen. 1929 Signed a yearlong song writing contract with the George and Arthur Piantadosi firm. 1930–1934 Wrote music for the Cotton Club. 1933 At a party, along with partner Ted Koehler, wrote the major hit song "Stormy Weather" 1933 Billboard heralded Shakespeare as the most prolific playwright in history, Arlen as the most prolific composer. 1934 Wrote "Ill Wind" with lyrics by Ted Koehler for their last show at the Cotton Club Parade, in 1934, sung by Adelaide Hall 1935 Went back to California after being signed by Samuel Goldwyn to write songs for the film Strike Me Pink.
1937 Composed the score for the Broadway musical Hooray for What!. Married 22-year-old Anya Taranda, a celebrated Powers Agency model and former Earl Carroll and Busby Berkeley showgirl and one of the Original "Breck Girls". 1938 Hired by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to compose songs for The Wizard of Oz. 1938 While driving along Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and stopping in front of Schwab's Drug Store, seeing a rainbow appear over Hollywood, came up with the song "Over the Rainbow". 1941 Wrote "Blues in the Night" 1942 Along with Johnny Mercer, he wrote one of his most famous songs, "That Old Black Magic". 1943 Wrote "My Shining Hour" 1944 While driving with songwriter partner Johnny Mercer came up with the song "Accentuate the Positive". 1945 In a single evening's work in October with Johnny Mercer came up with the song "Come Rain or Come Shine". 1949 Collaborated with Ralph Blane
Ira Gershwin was an American lyricist who collaborated with his younger brother, composer George Gershwin, to create some of the most memorable songs of the 20th century. With George he wrote more than a dozen Broadway shows, featuring songs such as "I Got Rhythm", "Embraceable You", "The Man I Love" and "Someone to Watch Over Me", he was responsible, along with DuBose Heyward, for the libretto to George's opera Porgy and Bess. The success the Gershwin brothers had with their collaborative works has overshadowed the creative role that Ira played, his mastery of songwriting continued, after the early death of George. He wrote additional hit songs with Kurt Weill, Harry Warren and Harold Arlen, his critically acclaimed 1959 book Lyrics on Several Occasions, an amalgam of autobiography and annotated anthology, is an important source for studying the art of the lyricist in the golden age of American popular song. Gershwin was born in New York City, the oldest of four children of Morris and Rose Gershovitz, who were Russian Jews, born in St Petersburg, who had emigrated to the US in 1891.
Ira's siblings were George and Frances. Morris changed the family name to "Gershwine". Shy in his youth, Ira spent much of his time at home reading, but from grammar school through college he played a prominent part in several school newspapers and magazines, he graduated in 1914 from Townsend Harris High School, a public school for intellectually gifted students, where he met Yip Harburg, with whom he enjoyed a lifelong friendship and a love of Gilbert and Sullivan. He dropped out; the childhood home of Ira and George Gershwin was in the center of the Yiddish Theater District, on the second floor at 91 Second Avenue, between East 5th Street and East 6th Street. They frequented the local Yiddish theaters. While George began composing and "plugging" in Tin Pan Alley from the age of 18, Ira worked as a cashier in his father's Turkish baths, it was not until 1921. Alex Aarons signed Ira to write the songs for his next show, Two Little Girls in Blue produced by Abraham Erlanger, along with co-composers Vincent Youmans and Paul Lannin.
So as not to appear to trade off George's growing reputation, Ira wrote under the pseudonym "Arthur Francis", after his youngest two siblings. His lyrics were well received, allowing him to enter the show-business world with just one show; the same year, the Gershwins collaborated for the first time on a score. It was not until 1924 that Ira and George teamed up to write the music for what became their first Broadway hit Lady, Be Good. Once the brothers joined forces, their combined talents became one of the most influential forces in the history of American Musical Theatre. "When the Gershwins teamed up to write songs for Lady, Be Good, the American musical found its native idiom." Together, they wrote the music for four films. Some of their more famous works include "The Man I Love", "Fascinating Rhythm", "Someone to Watch Over Me", "I Got Rhythm" and "They Can't Take That Away from Me", their partnership continued until George's sudden death from a brain tumor in 1937. Following his brother's death, Ira waited nearly three years before writing again.
After this temporary retirement, Ira teamed up with accomplished composers such as Jerome Kern. Over the next 14 years, Gershwin continued to write the lyrics for many film scores and a few Broadway shows, but the failure of Park Avenue in 1946 was his farewell to Broadway. As he wrote at the time, "Am reading a couple of stories for possible musicalization but I hope I don't like them as I think I deserve a long rest."In 1947, he took 11 songs George had written but never used, provided them with new lyrics, incorporated them into the Betty Grable film The Shocking Miss Pilgrim. He wrote comic lyrics for Billy Wilder's 1964 movie Kiss Me, although most critics believe his final major work was for the 1954 Judy Garland film A Star Is Born. American singer and musical historian Michael Feinstein worked for Gershwin in the lyricist's latter years, helping him with his archive. Several lost musical treasures were unearthed during this period, Feinstein performed some of the material. Feinstein's book The Gershwins and Me: A Personal History in Twelve Songs about working for Ira, George and Ira's music was published in 2012.
According to a 1999 story in Vanity Fair, Ira Gershwin's love for loud music was as great as his wife's loathing of it. When Debby Boone—daughter-in-law of his neighbor Rosemary Clooney—returned from Japan with one of the first Sony Walkmans, Clooney gave it to Michael Feinstein to give to Ira, "so he could crank it in his ears, you know, and he said,'This is wonderful!' And he called his broker and bought Sony stock!" Three of Ira Gershwin's songs were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song, though none won. Along with George S Kaufman and Morrie Ryskind, he was a recipient of the 1932 Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Of Thee I Sing. In 1988 UCLA established The George and Ira Gershwin Lifetime Musical Achiev