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Overview for Alan Jay Lerner
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: Music ... lyricist librettist screenwriter producer director advertising copywriter amateur boxer


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).

After Loewe's retirement in 1960, Lerner collaborated far less successfully with Burton Lane ("On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" and "Carmelina") Andre Previn ("Coco"), Leonard Bernstein ("1600 Pennsylvania Avenue") and Charles Strouse ("Dance a Little Closer").

Hailed by Leonard Bernstein as a "gentleman genius," Lerner also wrote the screenplay for "Royal Wedding" (1951), and won Oscars for his scripts for "An American in Paris" (1952) and the nine Oscar-winner, "Gigi" (1958), Lerner and Loewe's first original screen musical. In 1974 Loewe came out of retirement to create another original screen musical "The Little Prince." Three of Lerner's eight marriages were to actresses: Marion Bell (1947-48), Nancy Olson (1950-57) and Liz Robertson (1981 until his death in 1986).

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