Donald's Encyclopedia of Popular Music

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LERNER, Alan Jay

(b 31 Aug. '18, NYC; d 14 June '86, London) Lyricist. Wrote radio sketches for Celeste Holm and Alfred Drake, also wrote for Victor Borge, Hildegarde (b Hildegarde Loretta Sell, c'06, Adell WI; popular singer-pianist in clubs and on radio '40s); pageants for radio's Cavalcade Of America; Broadway show Love Life '48 with Kurt Weill. Composer Frederick Loewe (b 10 June '01, Berlin, Germany; d 14 Feb. '88, Palm Springs CA) had written European hit 'Katrina' at 15; in USA played piano, worked as unsuccessful bantamweight boxer and as a ranch hand; with Earle Crooker wrote 'A Waltz Was Born In Vienna' '36, musical Great Lady '38, also a musical for St Louis Opera; then with Lerner. After What's Up? '43 and The Day Before Spring '45, they wrote some of the most popular shows of all time: Brigadoon '47 (filmed '54) incl. 'Heather On The Hill', 'Almost Like Being In Love'; Paint Your Wagon '51 (filmed '69) incl. 'I Talk To The Trees', 'They Call The Wind Maria'; Camelot '60 (filmed '67); My Fair Lady '56 (filmed '64) incl. 'On The Street Where You Live', 'Get Me To The Church On Time', 'I've Grown Accustomed To Her Face', 'I Could Have Danced All Night'. They won Oscars '58 for score and title song of Gigi (also incl. 'Thank Heaven For Little Girls'), made two- disc set on RCA An Evening With Lerner And Loewe. Lerner also won an Oscar '51 for his screenplay of An American In Paris; he collaborated with Burton Lane (On A Clear Day You Can See Forever '65, filmed '69; title song won Grammy), André Previn (Coco '69). A Hymn To Him '87 compiled his lyrics, edited by Benny Green. He wrote autobiography The Street Where I Live; it was complemented by Gene Lees's Inventing Champagne: The Worlds Of Lerner And Loewe '90.