Vincente Minnelli was an Italian-American stage director and film director. He is remembered for directing such classic movie musicals as Meet Me in St. Louis, An American in Paris, The Band Wagon, Gigi. An American in Paris and Gigi both won the Academy Award for Best Picture, with Minnelli winning Best Director for Gigi. In addition to having directed some of the best known musicals of his day, Minnelli made many comedies and melodramas, he was married to Judy Garland from 1945 until 1951. Born and baptized as Lester Anthony Minnelli in Chicago, he was the youngest of four known sons, only two of whom survived to adulthood, born to Marie Émilie Odile Lebeau and Vincent Charles Minnelli, his father was the musical conductor of Minnelli Brothers' Tent Theater. His Chicago-born mother was of French Canadian descent with a strong probability of Native American lineage included via her Mackinac Island, Michigan born mother; the family toured small towns in Ohio and Illinois before settling permanently in Delaware, Ohio.
His paternal grandfather Vincenzo Minnelli and great-uncle Domenico Minnelli, both Sicilian revolutionaries, were forced to leave Sicily after the collapse of the provisional Sicilian government that arose from the 1848 revolution against Ferdinand II and Bourbon rule. Domenico Minnelli had been Vice-Chancellor of the Gran Corte Civile in Palermo at the time he helped organize the January 12, 1848 uprising there. After the Bourbon return to power Vincenzo hid in the catacombs of Palermo for 18 months before being smuggled onto a New York-bound fruit steamer. While traveling as a piano demonstrator for Knabe Pianos, Vincenzo met his future wife Nina Picket during a stop in Delaware, Ohio. Vincenzo was composer. Both the U. S. Library of Congress and the Newberry Library in Chicago have Vincenzo Minnelli compositions in their collections. Following his high school graduation, Minnelli moved to Chicago, where he lived with his maternal grandmother and an aunt, his first job was at Marshall Field's department store as a window dresser.
He worked as a photographer for Paul Stone, who specialized in photographing actors from Chicago's theater district. His interest in the theater grew and he was interested in art and immersed himself in books on the subject. Minnelli's first job in the theater was at the Chicago Theatre where he worked as a costume and set designer. Owned by Balaban and Katz, the theater chain soon merged with a bigger national chain of Paramount-Publix and Minnelli sometimes found himself assigned to work on shows in New York City, he soon rented a tiny Greenwich Village apartment. He was employed at Radio City Music Hall shortly after its 1932 opening as a set designer and worked his way up to stage director – he was tasked to serve as a color consultant for the original interior design of the Rainbow Room. After leaving Radio City Music Hall, the first play Minnelli directed was a musical revue for the Shuberts titled At Home Abroad which opened in October 1935 and starred Beatrice Lillie, Ethel Waters, Eleanor Powell.
The revue was well enjoyed a two-year run. Minnelli worked on The Ziegfeld Follies of 1936, Hooray for What!, Very Warm for May, The Show is On. Minnelli's reputation grew and he was offered a job at MGM in 1940 by producer Arthur Freed. With his background in theatre, Minnelli was known as an auteur who always brought his stage experience to his films; the first film that he directed, Cabin in the Sky, was visibly influenced by the theater. Shortly after that, he directed I Dood It with Red Skelton and Meet Me in St. Louis, during which he fell in love with the film's star, Judy Garland, they had first met on the set of Strike Up the Band, a Busby Berkeley film for which Minnelli was asked to design a musical sequence performed by Garland and Mickey Rooney. They began a courtship that led to their marriage in June 1945, their one child together, Liza Minnelli, grew up to become an Academy Award-winning actress and singer. The Minnelli family is thus unique in that father and child all won Oscars.
Known as the director of musicals, including An American in Paris, Brigadoon and Gigi, he directed comedies and melodramas, including Madame Bovary, Father of the Bride, The Bad and the Beautiful, Lust for Life, Designing Woman, The Courtship of Eddie's Father. His last film was A Matter of Time. During the course of his career he directed seven different actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Spencer Tracy, Gloria Grahame, Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Arthur Kennedy, Shirley MacLaine and Martha Hyer. Grahame and Quinn won. Minnelli received an Oscar nomination as Best Director for An American in Paris and won the Best Director Oscar for Gigi. According to Peter Bart in his book The Gross, Minnelli's films having 11 first-place finishes on Variety's opening release box office rankings, he was awarded France's highest civilian honor, Commandeur of the Legion of Honor, only weeks before his death in 1986. Minnelli's critical reputation has known a certain amount of fluctuation, being admired in America as a "pure stylist" who, in Andrew Sarris' words, "believes more in beauty than in art."
Alan Jay Lerner described Minnelli as, "the greatest director of motion picture musicals the screen has seen."His work reached a height of critical attention during the late 1950s and early 1960s in France with extensive studies in the Cahiers du Cinéma magazine
Great American Songbook
The Great American Songbook known as "American Standards", is the canon of the most important and influential American popular songs and jazz standards from the early 20th century. Although several collections of music have been published under the title, it does not refer to any actual book or specific list of songs, but to a loosely defined set including the most popular and enduring songs from the 1920s to the 1950s that were created for Broadway theatre, musical theatre, Hollywood musical film, they have been recorded and performed by a large number and wide range of singers, instrumental bands, jazz musicians. The Great American Songbook comprises standards by George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Richard Rodgers, others. Although the songs have never gone out of style among traditional and jazz singers and musicians, a renewed popular interest in the Great American Songbook beginning in the 1970s has led a growing number of rock and pop singers to take an interest and issue recordings of them.
There is no consensus on which songs are in the "Great American Songbook." Several music publishing companies, including Hal Leonard, J. W. Pepper & Son, Alfred Music, sell music under the name "Great American Songbook." Alfred Music lists the Songbook as its own genre. Music critics have attempted to develop a "canon." For example, in Alec Wilder's 1972 study, American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900–1950, the songwriter and critic lists and ranks the artists he believes belong to the Great American Songbook canon. A composer, Wilder emphasized analysis of their creative efforts in this work. Wilder devotes whole chapters to only six composers: Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, Cole Porter and Harold Arlen. Vincent Youmans and Arthur Schwartz share a chapter. Wilder uses a chapter to explore songwriters and composers he deemed "The Great Craftsmen": Hoagy Carmichael, Walter Donaldson, Harry Warren, Isham Jones, Jimmy McHugh, Duke Ellington, Fred Ahlert, Richard A. Whiting, Ray Noble, John Green, Rube Bloom and Jimmy Van Heusen.
He concludes with a catch-all 67-page chapter entitled "Outstanding Individual Songs: 1920 to 1950," which includes additional individual songs which he considers memorable. From some perspectives, the Great American Songbook era ended with the advent of roll. Radio personality and Songbook devotee Jonathan Schwartz has described this genre as "America's classical music". Despite the narrow range of topics and moods dealt with in many of the songs, the best Great American Songbook lyricists specialized in witty, urbane lyrics with teasingly unexpected rhymes; the songwriters combined memorable melodies – which could be anything from pentatonic, as in a Gershwin tune like "I Got Rhythm", to sinuously chromatic, as in many of Cole Porter's tunes – and great harmonic subtlety, a good example being Kern's "All the Things You Are", with its winding modulations. Many of the songs in the Great American Songbook were composed for musicals, some included an introductory sectional verse: a musical introduction that has a free musical structure, speech-like rhythms, rubato delivery.
The sectional verse served as a way of leading from the surrounding realistic context of the play into the more artificial world of the song, has lyrics that are in character and make reference to the plot of the musical for which the song was written. A song's sectional verse, if it exists, is dropped in performances outside the song's original stage or movie context. Whether or not it is sung depends on what the song is and, singing it — for example, Frank Sinatra never recorded "Fly Me to the Moon" with the introductory sectional verse, but Nat King Cole did — and a few of the songs written with such an introduction are nearly always performed in full with the introduction; the song itself is a 32-bar AABA or ABAC form, the lyrics refer to more universal and timeless situations and themes – for instance, the vicissitudes of love. This universality made it easier for songs to be added to or subtracted from a show, or revived in a different show; the following writers and songs are included in the Great American Songbook: Harold Arlen: "Over the Rainbow", "It's Only a Paper Moon".
Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay
The Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay is the Academy Award for the best screenplay not based upon published material. It was created in 1940 as a separate writing award from the Academy Award for Best Story. Beginning with the Oscars for 1957, the two categories were combined to honor only the screenplay. In 2002, the name of the award was changed from Writing to Writing. See the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay, a similar award for screenplays that are adaptations. Noted novelists and playwrights who have received nominations in this category include: John Steinbeck, Noël Coward, Raymond Chandler, Alain Robbe-Grillet, Edward Bond, Arthur C. Clarke, Lillian Hellman, Neil Simon, Paddy Chayefsky, Kenneth Lonergan, Tom Stoppard, Terence Rattigan and Martin McDonagh. Woody Allen has the most nominations in this category with 16, the most awards with 3, though Paddy Chayefsky won the Best Adapted Screenplay in 1955 for his adaptation of his own teleplay and won for Original Screenplay for The Hospital and Network.
Woody Allen holds the record as the oldest winner. Ben Affleck is the youngest winner, at the age of 25 for Good Will Hunting. Richard Schweizer was the first to win for Marie-Louise. Other winners for a non-English screenplay include Albert Lamorisse, Pietro Germi, Claude Lelouch, Pedro Almodóvar. Lamorisse is additionally the only person to win or be nominated for Best Original Screenplay for a short film. Muriel Box was the first woman to win in this category; the Boxes are the first married couple to win in this category. Only three other married couples won an Oscar in another category—Earl W. Wallace and Pamela Wallace, Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. In 1996, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen became the only siblings to win in this category. Francis Ford Coppola and Sofia Coppola are the only father-daughter pair to win. Preston Sturges was nominated for two different films in the same year: Hail the Conquering Hero and The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. Oliver Stone achieved the same distinction for Platoon and Salvador.
Maurice Richlin and Stanley Shapiro were nominated in 1959 for both Operation Petticoat and Pillow Talk and won for the latter. At the 2018 ceremony, Get Out writer-director Jordan Peele became the first African-American to win in this category. Winners are listed first followed by the other nominees. Academy Award for Best Story Golden Globe Award for Best Screenplay BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Screenplay List of Big Five Academy Award winners and nominees Writers Guild of America Award for Best Original Screenplay
Arthur Schwartz was an American composer and film producer. Schwartz was born in Brooklyn, New York City, on November 25, 1900, he taught himself to play the harmonica and piano as a child, began playing for silent films at age 14. He earned a B. A. in English at New York University and an M. A. in that subject at Columbia. Forced by his father, an attorney, to study law, Schwartz graduated from NYU Law School and was admitted to the bar in 1924. While studying law, he supported himself by teaching English in the New York school system, he worked on songwriting concurrently with his studies and published his first song by 1923. Acquaintances such as Lorenz Hart and George Gershwin encouraged him to stick with composing, he attempted to convince Howard Dietz, an MGM publicist who had collaborated with Jerome Kern, to work with him, but Dietz declined. As Artist Direct documents: Schwartz placed his first songs in The New Yorkers. By 1928, he had convinced Dietz to write with him, their first songs together were used in the Broadway revue The Little Show and included "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan", which belatedly became a hit three years when it was recorded by Rudy Vallée.
Schwartz's career was launched, in 1930 he contributed songs to six shows, three in London and three in New York, the most successful of, Three's a Crowd, which featured the same cast as The Little Show and featured the hit "Something to Remember You By". Schwartz started contributing songs to motion pictures, beginning with "I'm Afraid of You" in Queen High. Among other Broadway musicals for which Schwartz wrote the music are: The Band Wagon, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, By the Beautiful Sea, The Gay Life, Jennie, his films include the MGM musical The Band Wagon with lyricist Howard Dietz. Schwartz worked as a producer, for Columbia Pictures, his work includes the Cole Porter biographical film Night and Day. Schwartz was married to 1930s Broadway ingénue Kay Carrington, until her death when their first son, Jonathan Schwartz, was 14. Jonathan is now a radio personality and sometime musician. Schwartz's younger son, Paul Schwartz, with actress/dancer Mary Schwartz, is a composer, conductor and producer.
Arthur Schwartz died September 1984, in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania. Schwartz received two Academy Award nominations for Best Song: the first in 1944 for "They're Either Too Young or Too Old" in the film Thank Your Lucky Stars. In 1972, Schwartz was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1981, he was inducted in 1981 into the American Theater Hall of Fame. In 1990, Schwartz's hit, "That's Entertainment" from the film The Band Wagon, was awarded the ASCAP Award for Most Performed Feature Film Standard. Schwartz collaborated with some of the best lyricists of his day, including Dietz, Dorothy Fields, Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, Edward Heyman, Frank Loesser, Johnny Mercer, Leo Robin, Al Stillman. See the section Arthur Schwartz in List of musicals by composer: M to Z#S; the following is a selection of songs composed by Arthur Schwartz. "By Myself", recorded by Rosemary Clooney, Stacey Kent, Julie London, Ann Richards and notably Judy Garland. "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan", introduced by Clifton Webb in the revue The Little Show "Lucky Seven" "High and Low", performed in The Band Wagon by John Barker and Roberta Robinson "Hoops", introduced in the revue The Band Wagon by Fred and Adele Astaire "Dancing in the Dark", introduced by John Barker in the revue The Band Wagon "I Love Louisa", introduced by Fred and Adele Astaire in the revue The Band Wagon "If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You", recorded by Dick Haymes "Alone Together", introduced in the revue Flying Colors, by Jean Sargent "Louisiana Hayride", introduced by Tamara Geva, Clifton Webb, ensemble in the revue Flying Colors "Something to Remember You By", recorded by Morgana King, Irene Kral, Jo Stafford "You and the Night and the Music", from the musical Revenge with Music "Get Yourself a Geisha Girl", from the musical At Home Abroad "Got a Bran' New Suit", introduced by Ethel Waters in the revue At Home Abroad "Love Is a Dancing Thing", from the 1935 revue At Home Abroad "Paree", from the musical At Home Abroad "I See Your Face Before Me", introduced by Jack Buchanan, Evelyn Laye, Adele Dixon in the musical Between the Devil and recorded by Frank Sinatra in his In the Wee Small Hours album and by Doris Day on her Day by Night album.
"Haunted Heart", introduced in the musical Inside U. S. A. and recorded by Susannah McCorkle "That's Entertainment!", for the film The Band Wagon "Waitin' for the Evening Train", for the musical Jennie "After All You're All I'm After" "Then I'll Be Tired of You".
Betty Comden was one-half of the musical-comedy duo Comden and Green, who provided lyrics and screenplays to some of the most beloved and successful Hollywood musicals and Broadway shows of the mid-20th century. Her writing partnership with Adolph Green, called "the longest running creative partnership in theatre history", lasted for six decades, during which time they collaborated with other leading entertainment figures such as the famed "Freed Unit" at MGM, Jule Styne, Leonard Bernstein, wrote the musical comedy film Singin' in the Rain. Betty Comden was born Basya Cohen in Brooklyn, New York, to Leo Cohen, a lawyer, Rebecca, an English teacher. Both were observant Jews. Basya "attended Erasmus Hall High School and studied drama at New York University, graduating in 1938," according to The New York Times. In 1938, mutual friends introduced her to an aspiring actor. Along with the young Judy Holliday and Leonard Bernstein and Green formed a troupe called the Revuers, which performed at the Village Vanguard, a club in Greenwich Village.
Due to the act's success, the Revuers appeared in the 1944 film Greenwich Village, but their roles were so small they were noticed, they returned to New York. Comden and Green's first Broadway show was in 1944, with On the Town, a musical about three sailors on leave in New York City, an expansion of a ballet entitled Fancy Free on which Bernstein had been working with choreographer Jerome Robbins. Comden and Green wrote the book and lyrics, their next musical, Billion Dollar Baby in 1945, with music by Morton Gould was not a success, their 1947 show Bonanza Bound closed out-of-town and never reached Broadway. Comden and Green headed to California and soon found work at MGM, they wrote the screenplays for Good News and The Barkleys of Broadway, adapted On the Town for Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, scrapping most of Bernstein's music at the request of Arthur Freed, who did not care for the Bernstein score. The duo reunited with Gene Kelly for their most successful project, the classic Singin' in the Rain, about Hollywood in the final days of the silent film era.
Comden and Green provided the screenplay. They followed this with another hit, The Band Wagon, in which the characters of Lester and Lily, a husband-and-wife musical-writing team, were patterned after themselves, they were Oscar-nominated twice, for their screenplays for The Band Wagon and It's Always Fair Weather. They earned three Screen Writers Guild Awards: for the two aforementioned movies as well as On the Town. Comden and Green's stage work of the 1950s included Two on the Aisle, starring Bert Lahr and Dolores Gray, with music by Jule Styne; the score, including the standards "Just in Time", "Long Before I Knew You", "The Party's Over", proved to be one of their richest. The duo contributed additional lyrics to the 1954 musical Peter Pan and streamlined Die Fledermaus for the Metropolitan Opera, collaborated with Styne on songs for the play-with-music Say, Darling. In 1958, they appeared on Broadway in A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, a revue that included some of their early sketches.
It was a critical and commercial success, they brought an updated version back to Broadway in 1977. The pair wrote the screenplay for Auntie Mame in 1958; the New York Times movie review from that year lays it out as follows: In its superficial racing across several strata of rich society, it does catch some glimpses of behavior that flash a few glints of irony. The picture is every bit as potent, than the play; the stage play, as written by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee from the novel of Patrick Dennis, was more like a movie script in its pile-up of pictorial business and its multiplicity of scenes; the invitation to expansion was hand-engraved in the play. Now it has been accepted by screenwriters Betty Comden and Adolph Green and by the director, Morton DaCosta, who has reveled in the greater physical range. Comden and Green's Broadway work in the 1960s included four collaborations with Jule Styne, they wrote the lyrics for Do Re Mi, the book and lyrics for Subways Are For Sleeping, Fade Out – Fade In, Hallelujah, Baby!
Their Hallelujah, Baby! Score won a Tony Award. Comden and Green wrote the libretto for the 1970 musical Applause, an adaptation of the film All About Eve, wrote the book and lyrics for 1978's On the Twentieth Century, with music by Cy Coleman. Comden played Letitia Primrose in that musical when original star Imogene Coca left the show. Comden and Green's final musical hit was 1991's The Will Rogers Follies, providing lyrics to Cy Coleman's music; the duo's biggest failure was 1982's A Doll's Life, an attempt to figure out what Nora did after she abandoned her husband in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, which ran for only five performances, although they received Tony Award nominations for its book and score. In 1980, Comden was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. And, in 1981, she was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame. In the early 1980s, Comden acted in Wendy Wasserstein's play Isn't It Romantic, portraying the lead character's mother. In 1984, filmmaker Sidney Lumet directed a film about Greta Garbo, Garbo Talks, starring Anne Bancroft and Ron Silver.
The producers of the film were sure that the real Garbo either could not be located
Nanette Fabray was an American actress and dancer. She began her career performing in vaudeville as a child and became a musical-theatre actress during the 1940s and 1950s, acclaimed for her role in High Button Shoes and winning a Tony Award in 1949 for her performance in Love Life. In the mid-1950s, she served as Sid Caesar's comedic partner on Caesar's Hour, for which she won three Emmy Awards, as well as co-starring with Fred Astaire in the film musical The Band Wagon. From 1979 to 1984, she appeared as Katherine Romano on the TV series One Day at a Time. Fabray overcame a significant hearing impairment and was a long-time advocate for the rights of the deaf and hard-of-hearing, her honors for representing the handicapped included the President's Distinguished Service Award and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award. Fabray was born Ruby Bernadette Nanette Theresa Fabares on October 27, 1920, in San Diego, to Lily Agnes, a housewife, Raoul Bernard Fabares, a train conductor, she took to being known as Nanette for her first name after a beloved aunt from San Diego, whose name was Nanette.
Throughout life, she went by the nickname Nan, to a lesser extent, by close friends or relatives, sometimes Nanny-goat. Her family resided in Los Angeles, Fabray's mother was instrumental in getting her daughter involved in show business as a child. At a young age, she studied tap dance among others, Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, she made her professional stage debut as "Miss New Years Eve 1923" at the Million Dollar Theater at the age of three. She spent much of her childhood appearing in vaudeville productions as a dancer and singer under the name “Baby Nan”, she appeared with stars such as Ben Turpin. Raised by what would now be known as a stage mom, Fabray herself was not much interested in show business until on, never believed in pushing children into performing at a young age, instead wishing for them to be able to live out their childhoods as opposed to having to deal with adult concerns at a young age, her early dance training, did lead her always to consider herself a tap dancer first and foremost.
Contrary to popular misinformation from an undying rumor, she was never a regular or reoccurring guest of the Our Gang series. Fabray's parents divorced when she was nine, but they continued living together for financial reasons. During the Great Depression, her mother turned their home into a boarding house, which Fabray and her siblings helped run, Nanette’s main job being ironing clothes. In her early teenage years, Fabray attended the Max Reinhardt School of the Theatre on a scholarship, she attended Hollywood High School, participating in the drama program with a favorite teacher, where she graduated in 1939. She beat out classmate Alexis Smith for the lead in the school play her senior year. Fabray entered Los Angeles Junior College in the fall of 1939, but did not do well and withdrew a few months later, she had always had difficulty in school due to an undiagnosed hearing impairment, which made learning difficult. She was diagnosed with a conductive hearing loss in her twenties after an acting teacher encouraged her to get her hearing tested.
Fabray said. All these years I had thought I was stupid, but in reality I just had a hearing problem." Fabray gave many interviews over the years and much of the information known about her was revealed in these conversations. In 2004, she was interviewed for posterity in the oral history Archives of American Television as an Emmy TV legend. At the age of 19, Fabray made her feature film debut as one of Bette Davis's ladies-in-waiting in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, she appeared in two additional movies that year for Warner Bros. The Monroe Doctrine and A Child was not signed to a long-term studio contract, she next appeared in the stage production Meet the People in Los Angeles in 1940, which toured the United States in 1940–1941. In the show, she sang the opera aria "Caro nome" from Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto while tap dancing. During the show's New York run, Fabray was invited to perform the "Caro nome" number for a benefit at Madison Square Garden with Eleanor Roosevelt as the main speaker.
Ed Sullivan was the master of ceremonies for the event and the famed host, reading a cue card, mispronounced her name as "Nanette Fa-bare-ass." After this embarrassing faux pas, the actress legally changed the spelling of her name from Fabares to as close as possible match the proper pronunciation: Fabray. Artur Rodziński, conductor of the New York Philharmonic, saw Fabray's performance in Meet the People and offered to sponsor operatic vocal training for her at the Juilliard School, she studied opera at Juilliard with Lucia Dunham during the latter half of 1941 while performing in her first Broadway musical, Cole Porter's Let's Face It!, with Danny Kaye and Eve Arden. She decided that studying during the day and performing at night was too much for her and took away from her active social nightlife which she so enjoyed, that she preferred performing in musical theatre over opera, she became a successful musical-theatre actress in New York during the 1940s and early 1950s, starring in such productions as By Jupiter, My Dear Public, Bloomer Girl, High Button Shoes and the Girl, Make a Wish.
In 1949, she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Susan Cooper in the Kurt Weill/Ala
George S. Kaufman
George Simon Kaufman was an American playwright, theatre director and producer and drama critic. In addition to comedies and political satire, he wrote several musicals for the Marx Brothers and others. One play and one musical that he wrote won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama: You Can't Take It with You, Of Thee I Sing, he won the Tony Award as a Director, for the musical Guys and Dolls. George S. Kaufman was born to Joseph S. Kaufman, a hatband manufacturer, Nettie Meyers in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he had Ruth. His other sister was Helen, nicknamed "Helse." He studied law for three months. He grew disenchanted and took on a series of odd jobs, selling silk and working in wholesale ribbon sales. Kaufman began contributing humorous material to the column that Franklin P. Adams wrote for the New York Mail, he became close friends with F. P. A. who helped him get his first newspaper job—humor columnist for The Washington Times—in 1912. By 1915 he was a drama reporter on The New York Tribune, working under Heywood Broun.
In 1917 Kaufman joined The New York Times, becoming drama editor and staying with the newspaper until 1930. Kaufman took his editorial responsibilities seriously. According to legend, on one occasion a press agent asked: "How do I get our leading lady's name in the Times?" Kaufman: "Shoot her." Kaufman's Broadway debut was September 4, 1918 at the Knickerbocker Theatre, with the premiere of the melodrama Someone in the House. He coauthored the play with Walter C. Percival, based on a magazine story written by Larry Evans; the play opened on Broadway during that year's serious flu epidemic, when people were being advised to avoid crowds. With "dour glee", Kaufman suggested that the best way to avoid crowds in New York City was to attend his play. In every Broadway season from 1921 through 1958, there was a play directed by Kaufman. Since Kaufman's death in 1961, there have been revivals of his work on Broadway in the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s, the 2000s and the 2010s. Kaufman wrote only one play alone, The Butter and Egg Man in 1925.
With Marc Connelly, he wrote Merton of the Movies and Beggar on Horseback. According to his biography on PBS, "he wrote some of the American theater's most enduring comedies" with Moss Hart, their work includes Once in a Lifetime, Merrily We Roll Along, The Man Who Came to Dinner and You Can't Take It with You, which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937. For a period, Kaufman lived at 158 West 58th Street in New York City; the building would be the setting for Stage Door. It is now the Park Savoy Hotel. Despite his claim that he knew nothing about music and hated it in the theatre, Kaufman collaborated on many musical theatre projects, his most successful of such efforts include two Broadway shows crafted for the Marx Brothers, The Cocoanuts, written with Irving Berlin, Animal Crackers, written with Morrie Ryskind, Bert Kalmar, Harry Ruby. According to Charlotte Chandler, "By the time Animal Crackers opened... the Marx Brothers were becoming famous enough to interest Hollywood. Paramount signed them to a contract".
Kaufman was one of the writers who excelled in writing intelligent nonsense for Groucho Marx, a process, collaborative, given Groucho's skills at expanding upon the scripted material. Though the Marx Brothers were notoriously critical of their writers and Harpo Marx expressed admiration and gratitude towards Kaufman. Dick Cavett, introducing Groucho onstage at Carnegie Hall in 1972, told the audience that Groucho considered Kaufman to be "his god". While The Cocoanuts was being developed in Atlantic City, Irving Berlin was hugely enthusiastic about a song he had written for the show. Kaufman was less enthusiastic, refused to rework the libretto to include this number; the discarded song was "Always" a huge hit for Berlin, recorded by many popular performers. According to Laurence Bergreen, "Kaufman's lack of enthusiasm caused Irving to lose confidence in the song, and'Always' was deleted from the score of The Cocoanuts – though not from its creator's memory.... Kaufman, a confirmed misogynist, had had no use for the song in The Cocoanuts but his disapproval did not deter Berlin from saving it for a more important occasion."
The Cocoanuts would remain Irving Berlin's only Broadway musical – until his last one, Mr. President – that did not include at least one eventual hit song. Humor derived from political situations was of particular interest to Kaufman, he collaborated on the hit musical Of Thee I Sing, which won the 1932 Pulitzer Prize, the first musical so honored, its sequel Let'Em Eat Cake, as well as one troubled but successful satire that had several incarnations, Strike Up the Band. Working with Kaufman on these ventures were Ryskind, George Gershwin, Ira Gershwin. Kaufman, with Moss Hart, wrote the book to I'd Rather Be Right, a musical starring George M. Cohan as Franklin Delano Roosevelt, with songs by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, he co-wrote the 1935 comedy-drama First Lady. In 1945, Kaufman adapted H. M. S. Pinafore into Hollywood Pinafore. Kaufman contributed to major New York revues, including The Band Wagon with Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, his often