Arthur Hammerstein

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Arthur Hammerstein (December 21, 1872-October 12, 1955) was an American songwriter and playwright.

Life and career[edit]

Born and educated in New York City, Arthur Hammerstein was the son of Oscar Hammerstein I. Arthur started out as a bricklayer and plasterer,[1] working on projects with his father including the Victoria Theater and Manhattan Opera House.

In 1908, Hammerstein started working on becoming a producer including signing Italian singer Luisa Tetrazzini to the family's Manhattan Center and negotiating with Otto Kahn. Hammerstein moved to London in 1910 but while there Arthur and Oscar had a disagreement with money spending and Arthur vowed never to speak to his father again. With his father's support, Arthur embarked on his first production, Naughty Marietta.[2] Arthur's brother Willie Hammerstein died in June 1914, and Arthur took over management of the family's Victoria Theater. However, he could not make the theater pay in the face of growing competition, and the theater was closed and sold the next year.[3]

He was the producer of the Rudolf Friml operettas The Firefly (1912), Katinka (1915) and Rose-Marie (1924), which he collaborated on with his nephew, Oscar Hammerstein II. Arthur produced almost 30 musicals in 40 years in show business.[4]

During a performance of Tickle Me in 1920, Hammerstein was arrested for possessing what was thought to be whiskey during the Prohibition era, which later turned out to be iced tea. In 1930, Hammerstein was accused by a dance director George Haskell for assault[5] but the charges were later dropped and the two reconciled.[6] To search for better business opportunities, Hammerstein went to Hollywood to produce his one and only film The Lottery Bride, which was a failure and he returned to Broadway again. Hammerstein's last productions were Luana and Ballyhoo in 1930, which were considered failures. Hammerstein suffered bankruptcy in 1931 due to some musical failures[7] and went into retirement.

He made an appearance as himself in an episode of the film series Popular Science in 1949. He was one of the writers of the song "Because of You," a major hit (#1 for 10 weeks) for Tony Bennett in 1951. Hammerstein wrote the song in 1940. It was used in the film I Was an American Spy (1951). In 1924, Hammerstein married Dorothy Dalton, a silent film actress.[8] Arthur's daughter, Elaine Hammerstein, was a well-known stage and film actress.

Hammerstein died in 1955 from a heart attack at age 82.


  1. ^ "Hammerstein In Footsteps Of His Father". Schenectady Gazette. August 26, 1930. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  2. ^ Bloom, Ken (2004). Broadway: Its History, People, and Places : an Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0415937043. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  3. ^ Dodge, Richard Irving; Rogers, Will (2000). The Indian Territory Journals of Colonel Richard Irving Dodge. University of Oklahoma Press. ISBN 978-0-8061-3267-9. Retrieved 2014-05-19. 
  4. ^ "Arthur Hammerstein". Toledo Blade. October 13, 1955. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Arthur Hammerstein Accused of Assault". The Milwaukee Journal. September 19, 1930. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Hammerstein is Acquitted". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. October 10, 1930. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Arthur Hammerstein Relieved, Optimistic". The Telegraph. March 27, 1931. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Dorothy Dalton, Arthur Hammerstein Will Marry". Argus-Press. April 22, 1924. Retrieved February 24, 2014. 

External links[edit]