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Alan Jay Lerner

Alan Jay Lerner

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Also Known As: Died: June 14, 1986
Born: August 31, 1918 Cause of Death: lung cancer
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: lyricist, librettist, screenwriter, director, producer, amateur boxer, advertising copywriter

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Scion of the Lerner Shops fortune whose elegant lyrics reflected the sophisticated world of style and wit in which he lived. A chance meeting in 1942 with German-born composer Frederick Loewe who was fourteen years his senior resulted in one of the most productive and prosperous collaborations in the American musical theater. Wedded to Loewe's operetta-inspired melodious tunes, Lerner's lyrics and his archly romantic and literary librettos--which skillfully integrated music, character and story into a seamless whole--elevated the post-war musical to new heights of sophistication and intelligence. Together Lerner and Loewe created a string of Broadway hits all of which Lerner adapted to film: "Brigadoon" (1954), "My Fair Lady" (1964) "Camelot" (1967) and "Paint Your Wagon" (1969).

Scion of the Lerner Shops fortune whose elegant lyrics reflected the sophisticated world of style and wit in which he lived. A chance meeting in 1942 with German-born composer Frederick Loewe who was fourteen years his senior resulted in one of the most productive and prosperous collaborations in the American musical theater. Wedded to Loewe's operetta-inspired melodious tunes, Lerner's lyrics and his archly romantic and literary librettos--which skillfully integrated music, character and story into a seamless whole--elevated the post-war musical to new heights of sophistication and intelligence. Together Lerner and Loewe created a string of Broadway hits all of which Lerner adapted to film: "Brigadoon" (1954), "My Fair Lady" (1964) "Camelot" (1967) and "Paint Your Wagon" (1969).

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

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Milestones close milestones

:
Wrote radio scripts while in college
:
Lost left eye in recreational boxing accident
:
First job as advertising copy writer for Lord & Thomas agency; quit in 1942 to write radio scripts for "Philco Hall of Fame"
1942:
Wrote lyrics for first musical collaboration with Frederick Loewe, "The Life of the Party", presented in Detroit
1943:
First Broadway musical with Loewe, "What's Up?"; Was a flop
1947:
First Broadway hit musical, "Brigadoon"
1951:
Wrote first screenplay, "An American in Paris"
1965:
Produced first Broadway musical, "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" (also lyricist and librettist)
1983:
Directed first Broadway musical, "Dance a Little Closer"
1986:
Sued by IRS for $1.4 million in taxes and late penalties
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Education

Columbia Grammar and Prepatory School: New York , New York -
Bedales School: -
The Juilliard School: New York , New York -
Choate School: Wallingford , Connecticut - 1936
Harvard University: Cambridge , Massachusetts - 1940

Notes

He served as president of the Dramatists Guild of America (1958-62)

He served on the President's Committee for the Cultural Center (Kennedy Center) in Washington DC (1962)

Lerner was elected to the Songwriter's Hall of Fame (1971)

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Ruth Boyd. Divorced.
wife:
Marion Bell. Actor, singer. Married in 1947; divorced in 1948; starred on Broadway in "Brigadoon" (1947); died on December 14, 1997 at age 78.
wife:
Nancy Olson. Actor. Third wife; married March 19, 1950; divorced in 1957.
wife:
Micheline Mussellin Posso di Bergo. Married December 20, 1957; divorced.
wife:
Karen Gundersson. Married November 15, 1966; divorced December 9, 1974.
wife:
Sandra Payne. Married December 10, 1974; divorced.
wife:
Nina Bushkin. Divorced.
wife:
Liz Robertson. Actor. Married August 13, 1981 until Lerner's death in 1986; starred in revival of "My Fair Lady".
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Family close complete family listing

father:
Joseph J Lerner. Businessman. Founder of Lerner Shops, women's specialty stores.
mother:
Edith Lerner.
brother:
Robert Lerner. Theatre producer. Born 1921.
son:
Michael Lerner. Journalist. Correspondent for NEWSWEEK magazine in Paris.
daughter:
Susan Lerner.
daughter:
Liza Lerner.
daughter:
Jennifer Lerner.
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Bibliography close complete biography

"The Lerner and Loewe Song Book"
"On The Street Where I Live"
"The Musical Theater: A Celebration"
"The Wordsmiths: Oscar Hammerstein 2d and Alan Jay Lerner" Oxford University Press
"Alan Jay Lerner: A Biography" Henry Holt & Co
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