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Also Known As: Julius Kerwin Stein, Jules Styne Died: September 20, 1994
Born: December 31, 1905 Cause of Death: heart failure
Birth Place: London, England, GB Profession: composer, producer, music publisher, bandleader, pianist, vocal coach

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Brilliant, prolific tunesmith who, over the course of a nearly 75-year long career, composed 2000 songs, published 1500 of them and had somewhere around 200 of them become enormous hits or later song standards.Jule (pronounced JOO-lee) Styne was playing solo piano with the Chicago Symphony at age eight, worked during the Jazz Age in bands which also featured the up-and-coming likes of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Charlie Spivak, and entered films in the 1930s as an arranger and vocal coach for Alice Faye and Shirley Temple at 20th Century-Fox. Styne next worked for Republic Pictures on melodies for various B musicals, and in the early 40s began his famous, though never exclusive, partnership with lyricist Sammy Cahn. Some of Styne and Cahn's biggest hits during the 40s and 50s were sumptuous romantic ballads, many of which Frank Sinatra helped propel to the top of the weekly Hit Parade. One example was the lovely "I Fall in Love Too Easily" from the film "Anchors Aweigh" (1945), while another, the lush title song from the feature "Three Coins in the Fountain", also won an Oscar as Best Song in 1954.The early Styne songs, full of wartime longing and nostalgia, often seem atypically softer and...

Brilliant, prolific tunesmith who, over the course of a nearly 75-year long career, composed 2000 songs, published 1500 of them and had somewhere around 200 of them become enormous hits or later song standards.

Jule (pronounced JOO-lee) Styne was playing solo piano with the Chicago Symphony at age eight, worked during the Jazz Age in bands which also featured the up-and-coming likes of Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller and Charlie Spivak, and entered films in the 1930s as an arranger and vocal coach for Alice Faye and Shirley Temple at 20th Century-Fox. Styne next worked for Republic Pictures on melodies for various B musicals, and in the early 40s began his famous, though never exclusive, partnership with lyricist Sammy Cahn. Some of Styne and Cahn's biggest hits during the 40s and 50s were sumptuous romantic ballads, many of which Frank Sinatra helped propel to the top of the weekly Hit Parade. One example was the lovely "I Fall in Love Too Easily" from the film "Anchors Aweigh" (1945), while another, the lush title song from the feature "Three Coins in the Fountain", also won an Oscar as Best Song in 1954.

The early Styne songs, full of wartime longing and nostalgia, often seem atypically softer and gentler than his later sharp, showbizzy Broadway anthems like "Everything's Coming Up Roses" and "Let Me Entertain You" from "Gypsy" (1959), or "Don't Rain on My Parade" from "Funny Girl" (1964). Even a later ballad like "People" (from "Funny Girl"), which became a song standard for Barbra Streisand, has more brass than, say, "It's Magic", a rich number from the film "Romance on the High Seas" (1948) which became another signature tune for an equally feisty song stylist, Doris Day. Still, the sense of rhythmic and melodic flow remained a constant, as did the craftsmanship of a song's syncopation and drive as well as the sensitivity to lyrics and emotion. If Styne often did not have the star clout on Broadway in the 50s that Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin and Cole Porter did a generation earlier, it was partly because, as he himself realized, "I am the greatest collaborator there is", often letting a show's star or a musical's lyricist set much of the tone for his work.

Although Styne wrote a number of classic songs especially for film, including "(It Seems to Me) I've Heard That Song Before" from "Youth on Parade" (1942) and "I'll Walk Alone" from "Tonight and Every Night" (1945) and lent his talent for infectious, buoyant melodies to such film scores as "Anchors Aweigh" (1945), "The Kid From Brooklyn" (1946) and "It Happened in Brooklyn" (1947), he preferred writing for the stage. He first took a crack at writing a full Broadway score with "High Button Shoes" (1947)--the result, with choreography by Jerome Robbins, was a Broadway landmark. His encore triumph came in collaboration with snappy, witty lyricist Leo Robin, "Gentleman Prefer Blondes" (1949), which gave Carol Channing an enduring theme song with the delicious "Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend".

Styne would collaborate with Robin on the bright score for the Betty Grable film "Meet Me After the Show" (1951) and the less successful feature remake "My Sister Eileen" (1955) and would create tunes with Cahn for "The West Point Story" (1950), but around mid-decade he firmly decided to commit his songwriting energies to Broadway rather than to film. His work with Cahn came to an end as a result, but a recurring collaboration with the playful, inventive duo of Betty Comden and Adolph Green began with a revue "Two on the Aisle" (1951) and would later include the charming "Bells Are Ringing" (1956). Through the late 60s, Styne's genius for writing slam-bang Broadway hits for strong leading women came to the fore; one not only links Channing with "Gentleman" and Streisand with "Funny Girl" but also Judy Holliday with "Bells", Mary Martin with "Peter Pan" (1954, featuring the famous "Never Never Land") and Ethel Merman with "Gypsy" (1959, which includes the powerhouse anthem "Rose's Turn").

Although Styne always felt he had more creative freedom on Broadway, most of his major musicals were eventually adapted for the big screen. Beginning in 1957 with a musicalization of "Ruggles of Red Gap" he also began writing (and later producing) TV musical programs as well. The 60s had its leaner moments ("Do Re Mi", "Subways Are for Sleeping", both 1960 Broadway shows) but, besides "Funny Girl", this era also saw Styne finally win Tony Awards for his high energy "Hallelujah, Baby!" (1967). He continued with shows like "Sugar" (1972) and "Lorelei" (1974) and created tunes for the Broadway musical rendition of "The Red Shoes" (1993) less than two years before he died.

A stocky, feisty man much loved in showbiz circles for his sputtered, incomplete sentences, his wit, adaptability and showmanship, Styne was a lively interview subject and sometime performer up until the end. The creator of songs ranging from the joyous "Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!" and "Make Someone Happy" to the heartbreaking melancholy of "Guess I'll Hang My Tears Out to Dry" to the triumph of "Just in Time" received many deserved honors before his death at age 88.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1909:
Went with family at age three to see legendary Scottish music hall entertainer Harry Lauder; surprised audience when he jumped up on stage and started singing a song (date approximate)
1912:
Emigrated to the U.S. From London's East End with his family at age six
1914:
Child prodigy who performed as piano soloist with Chicago Symphony at age eight; also performed with the St. Louis and Detroit symphonies before the age of ten
1922:
Commissioned by teenaged Mike Todd to write first song, "The Moth and the Flame", at age 16 for a musical act Todd was putting together (date approximate)
1924:
Graduated from high school and began playing piano with Edgar Benson's orchestra (date approximate)
1926:
Composed a song, "Sunday", supposedly to impress a young woman, which went on to become his first hit
:
Performed with Ben Pollack's band, which at times in the late 1920s included such musicians as Benny Goodman, Charlie Spivak and Glenn Miller
1931:
Organized and led own band
1936:
Moved to New York and got a job as conductor and vocal coach for Broadway singing star Harry Richman (date approximate)
1937:
Went to Hollywood to work at 20th Century-Fox as music arranger and vocal coach for Alice Faye and Shirley Temple
1938:
Collaborated on first film score, "Hold That Co-Ed"
:
Worked for a time for Republic Pictures, composing songs for a number of B musicals including "Melody and Moonlight" (1940), "Sailors on Leave" (1941) and "Thumbs Up" (1943)
1942:
Began collaboration with lyricist Sammy Cahn (date approximate)
1942:
Received first of eight Oscar nominations for Best Song, "It Seems I Heard That Song Before", from the Republic picture, "Youth on Parade"; song's lyrics written by Sammy Cahn
1944:
Wrote first music for Broadway, contributing material to "Glad to See You"
1947:
First Broadway musical, the landmark, "High Button Shoes", with lyrics by Cahn and choreography by Jerome Robbins
1949:
Teamed up with lyricist Leo Robin for the successful Broadway musical, "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes"
1950:
Debut as Broadway producer, "Make a Wish"
1951:
First collaboration with lyricist-librettists Betty Comden and Adolph Green, "Two on the Aisle", a revue starring Dolores Gray and Bert Lahr
1953:
Wrote the music for the Broadway musical, "Hazel Flagg"
1954:
Added songs (in collaboration with Betty Comden and Adolph Green) to the successful Broadway musical, "Peter Pan", shortly before its opening
1954:
Debut as TV producer, "Anything Goes"
1955:
Composed songs for last original movie musicals, "How to Be Very, Very Popular" and "My Sister Eileen"; Styne's movie musicals hereafter would be adaptations of his Broadway successes
1956:
End of collaboration with lyricst Sammy Cahn, who went on to team up with composer James Van Heusen
1956:
Collaborated again with Comden and Green on the Broadway musical, "Bells Are Ringing"
1958:
Wrote music for the Broadway musical, "Say, Darling"
1957:
Composed first TV score, "Ruggles of Red Gap"
1957:
Debut as TV producer, "Anything Goes"
1959:
Collaborated once with Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the lyrics to Styne's music for the Broadway musical, "Gypsy"
1960:
Had two less-than-successful Broadway shows, "Do Re Mi" and "Subways Are for Sleeping"
1962:
Co-founded On Stage Productions (with Lester Osterman)
1964:
Enjoyed another major Broadway hit with "Funny Girl"; also had another musical, "Fade Out, Fade In", which played a very respectable nine months
1967:
Opened 18th Broadway musical, "Hallelujah, Baby!"
1968:
Wrote music for Broadway show, "Darling of the Day"
1970:
Wrote songs for Broadway musical, "Look to the Lillies"
1972:
Wrote music for Broadway musical comedy, "Sugar"
1974:
Wrote songs for Broadway show, "Lorelei"
1980:
Wrote music for Broadway show, "One Night Stand"
1987:
Received tribute at Broadway's St. James Theatre; broadcast on PBS as an installment of "Great Performances" called "Broadway Sings: The Music of Jule Styne"
1990:
Performed his song, "Two Little Girls from Little Rock", written for "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes", alongside Carol Channing at the benefit show, "Night of 100 Stars III", staged at Radio City Music Hall
1993:
Final Broadway show, "The Red Shoes", a musicalized revamp of the famous 1948 British film directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger; Styne wrote much, though not all, of the music; show closed shortly after opening
1994:
Only weeks before his death, revised the score of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" by including a new song, "A Ride on a Rainbow", for a revival to be staged at the Goodspeed Opera in East Haddam, CT
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Chicago College of Music: Chicago , Illinois -
Northwestern University: Evanston , Illinois - 1927 - 1931

Notes

Co-produced, with Sammy Cahn, the revival of "Pal Joey" which won the New York Film Drama Critics Circle Award in 1951/52

In 1959 Styne received the following tribute, which was read aloud and entered into the Congressional Record: "The lives of Americans throughout our land as well as the lives of the people throughout the corners of the world have been enriched by the artistry and genius of Jule Styne."

Styne was elected to Songwriters Hall of Fame (1972)

He was elected to the Theatre Hall of Fame (1981).

Styne was a board member for review of ASCAP (1963-64).

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Ethel Rubinstein. Married on August 9, 1926; divorced in 1951; originally from Chicago.
wife:
Margaret Ann Bissett Brown. Actor, model. Married on June 4, 1962; born in England; survived him.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Isadore Stein. Produce merchant. Owned a butter-and-egg store.
mother:
Anna Stein.
sister:
Claire Bregman. Younger sister; survived him.
son:
Stanley Styne. Mother Ethel Rubinstein.
son:
Norton Styne. Mother Ethel Rubinstein; survived him.
son:
Nicholas Styne. Agent. With APA; married to Kelly Schumann; mother, Margaret Brown; survived him.
daughter:
Katharine Styne.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Jule: The Story of Composer Jule Styne"

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