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Also Known As: Died:
Born: August 11, 1914 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Birmingham, Alabama, USA Profession: composer, musician, arranger, actor, singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

After making his Broadway acting debut in the short-lived musical "Hooray for What!" (1937), for which he also created the vocal arrangements, Hugh Martin went to work for Richard Rodgers on "The Boys from Syracuse" (1938), arranging the show-stopping "Sing for Your Supper". In 1941, he and writing partner Ralph Blane had a hit with "Best Foot Forward" starring Nancy Walker. The pair was invited to join MGM's illustrious music unit under Arthur Freed where they oversaw the 1943 film version of their Broadway success. Martin subsequently received Best Song Oscar nominations (with Blane) for "The Trolley Song" from "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944) and "Pass the Peace Pipe" from "Good News" (1947, also with Roger Edens). Judy Garland's pianist for her NYC Palace appearances in 1951, he walked off the set of "A Star Is Born" (1954) when he clashed with the singer over her interpretation of the song "The Man That Got Away".Preferring the collaboration of the theater over that of the movies, Martin was instrumental in the creation of shows like "Look Ma, I'm Dancin'" (1948) and "High Spirits" (1964), working with such theater luminaries as Jerome Robbins, George Abbott and Gower Champion. He reteamed with...

After making his Broadway acting debut in the short-lived musical "Hooray for What!" (1937), for which he also created the vocal arrangements, Hugh Martin went to work for Richard Rodgers on "The Boys from Syracuse" (1938), arranging the show-stopping "Sing for Your Supper". In 1941, he and writing partner Ralph Blane had a hit with "Best Foot Forward" starring Nancy Walker. The pair was invited to join MGM's illustrious music unit under Arthur Freed where they oversaw the 1943 film version of their Broadway success. Martin subsequently received Best Song Oscar nominations (with Blane) for "The Trolley Song" from "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1944) and "Pass the Peace Pipe" from "Good News" (1947, also with Roger Edens). Judy Garland's pianist for her NYC Palace appearances in 1951, he walked off the set of "A Star Is Born" (1954) when he clashed with the singer over her interpretation of the song "The Man That Got Away".

Preferring the collaboration of the theater over that of the movies, Martin was instrumental in the creation of shows like "Look Ma, I'm Dancin'" (1948) and "High Spirits" (1964), working with such theater luminaries as Jerome Robbins, George Abbott and Gower Champion. He reteamed with Blane to write 10 new songs for the 1989 Broadway production of "Meet Me in St. Louis", earning a Tony nomination, and is still busy in his 80s, having written new songs (with Timothy Gray) for "I Will Come Back", a 1998 off-Broadway tribute to Garland, as well as the music and lyrics for "Maggie & Jiggs", a new show workshopped in San Diego that same year.

Although the biggest hit from the "Meet Me in St. Louis" score was "The Trolley Song", Martin's favorite, "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas", has demonstrated much more staying power and is the composer's most recognizable tune. In the 80s and 90s, it graced "When Harry Met Sally ..." (1989), "While You Were Sleeping" (1995) and "Donnie Brasco" (1997), to name just a few of its movie appearances, proving it has become a modern Christmas classic, right up there with Irving Berlin's "White Christmas" and Mel Torme's "The Christmas Song" ("Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire"), among others.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Don't Touch That Box! (1991) Director
3.
4.

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Black Island (1978) Deliveryman
2.
 Marching On! (1943) Rodney Tucker, Jr.
3.
 Skip To My Lou (1941)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1937:
Made Broadway debut in "Hooray for What!"; also worked on vocal arrangements
1938:
Hired by Richard Rodgers to create vocal arrangements for "The Boys From Syracuse"
1941:
With Ralph Blane, wrote score for the Broadway show "Best Foot Forward"
:
Hired by MGM to work under Arthur Freed in the music unit
1943:
Film version of "Best Foot Forward" released
1944:
With Blane, wrote several songs for "Meet Me in St Louis"; earned Oscar nomination for "The Trolly Song"; first association with Judy Garland; also penned perennial "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas"
:
Served in the US Army during WWII; worked in the Special Entertainment forces
1947:
Received second Academy Award nomination for Best Song for "Pass the Peace Pipe" from "Good News"; written with Blane and Roger Edens
1948:
Wrote score for "Look Ma, I'm Dancin'", conceived by Jerome Robbins and directed by George Abbott for Broadway
1951:
Served as pianist for Judy Garland during her performances at the Palace Theater in NYC
1954:
Walked off "A Star Is Born" because of a falling-out with Garland over the interpretation of "The Man That Got Away"; received no film credit
1960:
Suffered a nervous breakdown
1963:
Liza Minnelli made her stage debut in the off-Broadway revival of Martin and Blane's "Best Foot Forward"
1964:
With Timothy Gray, co-wrote "High Spirits", a musical based on Noel Coward's "Blithe Spirit"; production starred Beatrice Lillie and was directed by Gower Champion (who replaced Coward); received Tony Award nomination
1981:
Traveled throughout the USA with a gospel camp
1989:
With Blane, wrote ten new songs for the stage version of "Meet Me in St Louis"; received second Tony nomination
1997:
Honored by current hometown of San Diego, CA with a "Hugh Martin Day"
1998:
Composed new songs (with Timothy Gray) for "I Will Come Back", an off-Broadway tribute to Judy Garland starring drag artiste Tommy Femia
1998:
Wrote music and lyrics for San Diego workshop production of "Maggie & Jiggs", based on the George McManus comic strip, "Bringing Up Father"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Martin wrote to Richard Rodgers who would hire him to work on "The Boys from Syracuse": "Dear Mr Rodgers, I love your music and I think you're wonderful. But one thing puzzles me. I don't understand why I never hear any vocal arrangements in Broadway shows. They sing a verse and two choruses, and that's it. When I go to the movies, I hear exciting choral arrangements and inventive duets. But not on Broadway. And I wondered why that is." --From INTHEATER, March 27, 1998

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