Frank Loesser


Composer, Lyricist

About

Also Known As
Francis Henry Loesser
Birth Place
New York City, New York, USA
Born
June 29, 1910
Died
July 28, 1969
Cause of Death
Lung Cancer

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 "...

Family & Companions

Lynn Garland
Wife
Singer, Broadway producer. Married in 1935; divorced in 1957; produced Loesser's musical, "The Most Happy Fella" (1956).
Jo Sullivan
Wife
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).

Bibliography

"A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in His Life: A Portrait by His Daughter"
Susan Loesser, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1993)

Notes

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

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 classics as "Thumbelina," "Anywhere I Wander" and "Wonderful Copenhagen."

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Red, Hot and Blue (1949)
Hair-Do Lempke

Writer (Feature Film)

Priorities on Parade (1942)
Original Screenplay

Music (Feature Film)

Five Feet Apart (2019)
Song
The Rules Don't Apply (2016)
Song
The Finest Hours (2016)
Song
While We're Young (2015)
Song
I Saw the Light (2015)
Song
Born to Be Blue (2015)
Song
The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (2015)
Song
Set Fire to the Stars (2015)
Song
A Long Way Down (2014)
Song
Can a Song Save Your Life? (2014)
Song
Think Like a Man Too (2014)
Song
Glass Chin (2014)
Song
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Song
The Master (2012)
Song
This Is 40 (2012)
Song
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
Song
Jack and Jill (2011)
Song
127 Hours (2010)
Song
Julie & Julia (2009)
Song
Whatever Works (2009)
Song
Four Christmases (2008)
Song
The Savages (2007)
Song
Reign Over Me (2007)
Song
American Dreamz (2006)
Song
Superman Returns (2006)
Song
Jackass: Number Two (2006)
Song
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
Song ("I'Ve Never Been In Love Before")
Mona Lisa Smile (2003)
Song
Elf (2003)
Song
The Curse of the Jade Scorpion (2001)
Song
Domestic Disturbance (2001)
Song
The Love Letter (1999)
Song
Payback (1999)
Song
Man on the Moon (1999)
Song
8 1/2 Women (1999)
Song ("On A Slow Boat To China")
Snow Falling on Cedars (1999)
Song
The Big Lebowski (1998)
Song
The Slums of Beverly Hills (1998)
Song
Celebrity (1998)
Song
The Faculty (1998)
Song
Dance With Me (1998)
Song ("Let'S Get Lost")
A Bronx Tale (1993)
Song
Mrs. Doubtfire (1993)
Song
Manhattan Murder Mystery (1993)
Song
Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993)
Song
Rich in Love (1992)
Song ("I Hear Music")
The Long Day Closes (1992)
Music Composer
The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1992)
Music Composer
School Ties (1992)
Song
A League of Their Own (1992)
Song
Leap of Faith (1992)
Song
Company Business (1991)
Song
Bugsy (1991)
Song
The Marrying Man (1991)
Song
All I Want for Christmas (1991)
Song
For the Boys (1991)
Song
Stepping Out (1991)
Song
The Freshman (1990)
Song
Crimes And Misdemeanors (1989)
Song
Let It Ride (1989)
Song
Big (1988)
Song
Let's Get Lost (1988)
Song
September (1987)
Song
Radio Days (1987)
Song
Heartburn (1986)
Song
Rebel (1986)
Song
Lost in America (1985)
Song
Summer Rental (1985)
Song
Racing With The Moon (1984)
Song
Raggedy Man (1981)
Song
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1967)
Composer
Jazz Ball (1958)
Composer
The Party Crashers (1958)
Composer
Short Cut to Hell (1957)
Composer
Guys and Dolls (1955)
Composer
About Mrs. Leslie (1954)
Composer
Money from Home (1954)
Composer
Gunsmoke (1953)
Composer
Hans Christian Andersen (1952)
Composer
Where's Charley? (1952)
Composer
Flaming Feather (1952)
Composer
The Marrying Kind (1952)
Composer
With a Song in My Heart (1952)
Composer
Because of You (1952)
Composer
Dark City (1950)
Composer
Let's Dance (1950)
Composer
Malaya (1949)
Composer
Neptune's Daughter (1949)
Composer
Roseanna McCoy (1949)
Composer
Red, Hot and Blue (1949)
Composer
I Walk Alone (1948)
Composer
Saigon (1948)
Composer
On Our Merry Way (1948)
Composer
Miss Tatlock's Millions (1948)
Composer
The Perils of Pauline (1947)
Composer
Variety Girl (1947)
Composer
Behind City Lights (1945)
Composer
Her Lucky Night (1945)
Composer
You Came Along (1945)
Composer
Radio Stars on Parade (1945)
Composer
Jam Session (1944)
Composer
Moon Over Las Vegas (1944)
Composer
The Old Texas Trail (1944)
Composer
You Can't Ration Love (1944)
Composer
Christmas Holiday (1944)
Composer
Hail the Conquering Hero (1944)
Composer
See Here, Private Hargrove (1944)
Composer
Tornado (1943)
Composer
Swing Your Partner (1943)
Composer
Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943)
Composer
Happy Go Lucky (1943)
Composer
Beyond the Blue Horizon (1942)
Composer
True to the Army (1942)
Composer
Tortilla Flat (1942)
Composer
Night in New Orleans (1942)
Composer
Little Joe, the Wrangler (1942)
Composer
Lost Canyon (1942)
Composer
This Gun for Hire (1942)
Composer
Sweater Girl (1942)
Composer
Seven Days' Leave (1942)
Composer
Priorities on Parade (1942)
Composer
The Forest Rangers (1942)
Composer
The Parson of Panamint (1941)
Composer
Hold Back the Dawn (1941)
Composer
Sis Hopkins (1941)
Composer
Stick to Your Guns (1941)
Composer
Sailors on Leave (1941)
Composer
Mr. Bug Goes to Town (1941)
Composer
Kiss the Boys Goodbye (1941)
Composer
Forced Landing (1941)
Composer
Caught in the Draft (1941)
Composer
Burma Convoy (1941)
Composer
Manpower (1941)
Composer
Man from Montana (1941)
Composer
Las Vegas Nights--"The Last Frontier Town" (1941)
Composer
Glamour Boy (1941)
Composer
Aloma of the South Seas (1941)
Composer
The Quarterback (1940)
Composer
A Night at Earl Carroll's (1940)
Composer
The Farmer's Daughter (1940)
Composer
Moon over Burma (1940)
Composer
Johnny Apollo (1940)
Composer
Typhoon (1940)
Composer
Seven Sinners (1940)
Composer
Dancing on a Dime (1940)
Composer
Youth Will Be Served (1940)
Composer
Those Were the Days! (1940)
Composer
Buck Benny Rides Again (1940)
Composer
Saint Louis Blues (1939)
Composer
Zaza (1939)
Composer
Heritage of the Desert (1939)
Composer
Hawaiian Nights (1939)
Composer
Island of Lost Men (1939)
Composer
The Gracie Allen Murder Case (1939)
Composer
Man About Town (1939)
Composer
Some Like It Hot (1939)
Composer
Cafe Society (1939)
Composer
The Llano Kid (1939)
Composer
Destry Rides Again (1939)
Composer
Cocoanut Grove (1938)
Composer
Sing You Sinners (1938)
Composer
The Texans (1938)
Composer
Freshman Year (1938)
Composer
Stolen Heaven (1938)
Composer
Men with Wings (1938)
Composer
College Swing (1938)
Composer
Spawn of the North (1938)
Composer
Blossoms on Broadway (1937)
Composer
Walter Wanger's Vogues of 1938 (1937)
Composer
Fight for Your Lady (1937)
Composer
The Hurricane (1937)
Composer
Postal Inspector (1936)
Composer
Flying Hostess (1936)
Composer
Yellowstone (1936)
Composer
Mysterious Crossing (1936)
Composer
The Man I Marry (1936)
Composer

Cast (Special)

Heart & Soul: The Life and Music of Frank Loesser (2006)
Honoree

Writer (Special)

The Most Happy Fella (1980)
Book As Source Material

Music (Special)

Steve Wozniak: The Wizard of Apple (2000)
Song
Guys and Dolls Off the Record (1992)
Song
An Evening With Maria Ewing (1990)
Music
The Most Happy Fella (1980)
Theme Lyrics
Baryshnikov on Broadway (1980)
Song
The Most Happy Fella (1980)
Music

Special Thanks (Special)

The Most Happy Fella (1980)
Book As Source Material

Music (TV Mini-Series)

If These Walls Could Talk (1996)
Song

Life Events

1931

First published lyric, for pop song "In Love With the Memory of You" (music by William Schuman)

1934

First hit song, "I Wish I Were Twins" (music by Joseph Meyer and Edgar De Lange)

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

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)

Videos

Movie Clip

Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) - They're Either Too Young Or Too Old Bette Davis (like all the Warner Bros. stars, donating her salary to the Hollywood Canteen she co-founded), delivers an original by Arthur Schwartz and Frank Loesser which earned an Academy Award nomination and became a widely recorded hit, in the variety propaganda effort Thank Your Lucky Stars, 1943, Conrad Wiedell her dance partner.
Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943) - That's What You Jolly Well Get The schtick for Errol Flynn (who like the other big names, donated his $50,000 salary to the armed services benefit Hollywood Canteen) for the wartime fundraiser show-within-a-show premise of the Warner Bros. propaganda feature is an original by Arthur Schwartz and Frank Loesser, staged by Leroy Prinz, in Thank Your Lucky Stars, 1943.
This Gun For Hire (1942) - Now You See It... First appearance by Veronica Lake as singer-magician "Ellen," auditioning for night club operator and industrial spy Gates (Laird Cregar), song by Jacques Press and Frank Loesser, in This Gun For Hire, 1942.
Seven Days' Leave (1942) - A Touch Of Texas G-I Johnny (Victor Mature), about to inherit big money on the condition that he marry a daughter of the Havelock-Allen family, with buddies Speak and Bitsy (Peter Lind Hayes, Arnold Stang) and lawyer Gildersleeve (Harold Peary) meets singing Mickey (Marcy McGuire, rehearsing a Jimmy McHugh/Frank Loesser tune with Freddy Martin’s group) and dishy Terry (Lucille Ball), in RKO’s Seven Days’ Leave, 1942.
Seven Days' Leave (1942) - You Speak My Language With Les Brown’s band playing at a G-I sendoff, the three ex-member buddies (Peter Lind Hayes as “Speak,” singer Buddy Clark as himself and Victor Mature as trumpeter Johnny) are asked to join, along with Vic/Johnny’s gal, Mapy Cortes, leading in a Jimmy McHugh/Frank Loesser original, in RKO’s Seven Days’ Leave, 1942, choreography by Chuck Walters.
College Swing (1938) - How'dja Like To Love Me? Just-introduced Martha Raye as Mabel, having just dropped her fake French persona, offering herself as a “Professor of Practical Romance,” for Bob Hope as Bud, who’s now in charge of staffing up the college, cueing an original tune by Burton Lane and Frank Loesser, in Paramount’s College Swing, 1938, starring George Burns and Gracie Allen.
College Swing (1938) - Title Song (Betty Grable) Just the third scene and not essential to the narrative, at what must be the dining hall, an original tune for Paramount by Frank Loesser and Hoagy Carmichael finds Skinnay Ennis launching a duet with Betty Grable, who switches to Jackie Coogan for the dance, choreography by LeRoy Prinz, Raoul Walsh directing, in College Swing, 1938, starring George Burns, Gracie Allen and Bob Hope.
Hans Christian Andersen (1952) - The King's New Clothes The original tale by the titular hero is in fact the "Emperor's" new clothes, but the tune by Frank Loesser is about a king, delivered by the famous 19th century Danish author as played by Danny Kaye, early in Samuel Goldwyn's Hans Christian Andersen, 1952.
Guys and Dolls (1955) - The Oldest Established Nathan Detroit (Frank Sinatra) comiserates with pals Benny (Johnny Silver) and Nicely-Nicely (Stubby Kaye) who then join him in Frank Loesser's tune "The Oldest Established," in Guys and Dolls, 1955.
Guys And Dolls (1955) - If I Were A Bell Big treat for Jean Simmons fans, as "Sergeant" Sarah Brown, with gambler Sky Masterson (Marlon Brando) after their night out in Havana, Frank Loesser's If I Were A Bell, both actors recording their own vocals, from Guys And Dolls, 1955.
Guys And Dolls (1955) - I'll Know The first of the famous Marlon Brando vocals, as gambler "Sky Masterson," with Salvation Army sister Sarah (Jean Simmons, also doing her own singing) considering the romantic future with Frank Loesser's I'll Know, in Guys And Dolls, 1955.
Guys And Dolls (1955) - Adelaide Frank Sinatra (as "Nathan Detroit") with his one ballad, Frank Loesser's "Adelaide," sung to his fiancè (Vivian Blaine), which he chose not to sing fully in character, in the Samuel Goldwyn production of Guys And Dolls, 1955, directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz.

Trailer

Family

Henry Loesser
Father
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.
Julia Loesser
Mother
Arthur Loesser
Half-Brother
Concert pianist, critic. Older; became the head of the piano division of the Cleveland Institute of Music; born in 1894; mother Bertha Ehrlich.
Grace Loesser
Sister
Older; born in December 1906.
Susan Loesser
Daughter
Author. Mother, Lynn Garland.
John Loesser
Son
Florida theater operator. Mother, Lynn Garland.
Emily Loesser
Daughter
Actor, singer. Mother, Jo Sullivan.
Hannah Loesser
Daughter
Artist. Mother, Jo Sullivan.

Companions

Lynn Garland
Wife
Singer, Broadway producer. Married in 1935; divorced in 1957; produced Loesser's musical, "The Most Happy Fella" (1956).
Jo Sullivan
Wife
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).

Bibliography

"A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in His Life: A Portrait by His Daughter"
Susan Loesser, Donald I. Fine, Inc. (1993)

Notes

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