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Frank Loesser

Frank Loesser

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Also Known As: Francis Henry Loesser Died: July 28, 1969
Born: June 29, 1910 Cause of Death: lung cancer
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: lyricist, composer, songwriter, nightclub performer, librettist, press agent, city editor, knit-goods editor, process server, political cartoonist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Prolific Hollywood wordsmith turned tunesmith who crossed over from Tin Pan Alley to Shubert Alley. As a Hollywood songwriter during the 1930s and 40s, Loesser penned the breezy lyrics for such standards as "The Boys in the Backroom" (with composer Frederick Hollander), "Small Fry" and "Two Sleepy People" (with Hoagy Carmichael), "I Don't Want to Walk Without You" (with Jule Styne) and "They're Either Too Young or Too Old" (with Arthur Schwartz). On Broadway from the late 1940s through the 60s, he displayed a knack for conveying characters and their vernacular by writing both the clever words and tuneful music for classic shows of Broadway's golden age: the 1948 Ray Bolger vehicle "Where's Charley" (filmed in 1952), the colorful 1950 Damon Runyon gambling fantasy, "Guys and Dolls" (filmed in 1955), and the Pulitzer prize-winning satire "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (1967). Loesser's musicals which did not make it to Hollywood include the near-operatic "The Most Happy Fella" (1956) and the whimsical "Greenwillow" (1960). One his richest scores was an original musical written directly for film, the charming fictional biography "Hans Christian Anderson" (1952) which introduced such...

Prolific Hollywood wordsmith turned tunesmith who crossed over from Tin Pan Alley to Shubert Alley. As a Hollywood songwriter during the 1930s and 40s, Loesser penned the breezy lyrics for such standards as "The Boys in the Backroom" (with composer Frederick Hollander), "Small Fry" and "Two Sleepy People" (with Hoagy Carmichael), "I Don't Want to Walk Without You" (with Jule Styne) and "They're Either Too Young or Too Old" (with Arthur Schwartz). On Broadway from the late 1940s through the 60s, he displayed a knack for conveying characters and their vernacular by writing both the clever words and tuneful music for classic shows of Broadway's golden age: the 1948 Ray Bolger vehicle "Where's Charley" (filmed in 1952), the colorful 1950 Damon Runyon gambling fantasy, "Guys and Dolls" (filmed in 1955), and the Pulitzer prize-winning satire "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying" (1967).

Loesser's musicals which did not make it to Hollywood include the near-operatic "The Most Happy Fella" (1956) and the whimsical "Greenwillow" (1960). One his richest scores was an original musical written directly for film, the charming fictional biography "Hans Christian Anderson" (1952) which introduced such classics as "Thumbelina", "Anywhere I Wander" and "Wonderful Copenhagen."

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Red, Hot and Blue (1949) Hair-Do Lempke
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Worked at odd jobs including as a process server, knit-goods editor, political cartoonist for the "Tuckahoe Record", city editor for the "New Rochelle News" and press agent for Tiffany Pictures
:
Sold special lyrics to vaudevillians
:
Hired as staff lyricist for the Leo Feist song publishing company; fired after a year during which time none of his lyrics was published
1931:
First published lyric, for pop song "In Love With the Memory of You" (music by William Schuman)
:
Took odd jobs to support widowed mother during Depression: put caps on bottles of insecticide; was a spotter for a restaurant chain, checking on food and service and getting free meals
:
Sang and played piano in nightclubs
1934:
First hit song, "I Wish I Were Twins" (music by Joseph Meyer and Edgar De Lange)
:
Wrote lyrics for special material to music by Irving Actman
1936:
Contributed lyrics to Broadway revue, "The Illustrators Show" (music by Irving Actman); show ran only five performances
1937:
Went to Hollywood; wrote first song, "The Moon of Manakoora" (music by Alfred Newman) which Dorothy Lamour sang in "The Hurricane"
1941:
Wrote lyrics for song, "Jingle, Jangle, Jingle" for Paramount film, "Forest Rangers" (composer Joe Lilley)
1941:
Composed music for first time for song, "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition" after which he enlisted in the Army
:
Wrote music (as well as lyrics) for "Skirts" for the Air Force Special Services show performed in London during WWII; wrote over 100 songs for Army shows
1948:
Wrote first Broadway score (both words and music) for "Where's Charley?"
1949:
Film acting debut, as Hair-Do Lempke, a piano-loving racketeer in "Red, Hot and Blue" (also wrote songs)
1950:
Formed Frank Music publishing company (date approximate)
1956:
Co-wrote first libretto for "The Most Happy Fella" (also wrote music and lyrics)
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

There is an official Web site located at www.frankloesser.com

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Lynn Garland. Singer, Broadway producer. Married in 1935; divorced in 1957; produced Loesser's musical, "The Most Happy Fella" (1956).
wife:
Jo Sullivan. Singer, actor. Married from April 29, 1958 until his death in 1969; starred as Rosabella/Amy in original production of "The Most Happy Fella" (1956).

Family close complete family listing

father:
Henry Loesser. Piano teacher; accompanist. German-born; married to Bertha Ehrlich from 1892 until her death in 1906; married her sister Julia in 1906; died on July 20, 1926.
mother:
Julia Loesser.
half-brother:
Arthur Loesser. Concert pianist, critic. Older; became the head of the piano division of the Cleveland Institute of Music; born in 1894; mother Bertha Ehrlich.
sister:
Grace Loesser. Older; born in December 1906.
daughter:
Susan Loesser. Author. Mother, Lynn Garland.
son:
John Loesser. Florida theater operator. Mother, Lynn Garland.
daughter:
Emily Loesser. Actor, singer. Mother, Jo Sullivan.
daughter:
Hannah Loesser. Artist. Mother, Jo Sullivan.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in His Life: A Portrait by His Daughter" Donald I. Fine, Inc.

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