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Arthur Schwartz

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Arthur Schwartz
Arthur Schwartz photo taken by Carl Van Vechten, 1933
Born(1900-11-25)November 25, 1900
Brooklyn, New York City
DiedSeptember 3, 1984(1984-09-03) (aged 83)
Occupation(s)Composer, film producer

Arthur Schwartz (November 25, 1900 – September 3, 1984) was an American composer and film producer, widely noted for his songwriting collaborations with Howard Dietz.


Early life[edit]

Schwartz was born to a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York City, on November 25, 1900.[1] He taught himself to play the harmonica and piano as a child, and began playing for silent films at age 14. He earned a B.A. in English at New York University and an M.A. in Architecture at Columbia. Forced by his father, an attorney, to study law, Schwartz graduated from NYU Law School with a Juris Doctor and was admitted to the bar in 1924.[1][2]


While studying law, he supported himself by teaching English in the New York school system. He also worked on songwriting concurrently with his studies and published his first song ("Baltimore, Md., You're the Only Doctor for Me", with lyrics by Eli Dawson) by 1923.[1] Acquaintances such as Lorenz Hart and George Gershwin encouraged him to stick with composing. He attempted to convince Howard Dietz, an MGM publicist who had collaborated with Jerome Kern, to work with him, but Dietz initially declined.[2]

As Artist Direct documents: Schwartz placed his first songs in a Broadway show, The New Yorkers (March 10, 1927). By 1928, he had closed his law office and convinced Dietz to write with him. Their first songs together were used in the Broadway revue The Little Show (April 30, 1929) and included "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan", which belatedly became a hit three years later when it was recorded by Rudy Vallée. Schwartz's career was launched, and in 1930 he contributed songs to six shows, three in London and three in New York, the most successful of which was Three's a Crowd (October 15, 1930), which featured the same cast as The Little Show and featured the hit "Something to Remember You By". Schwartz also started contributing songs to motion pictures, beginning with "I'm Afraid of You" (lyrics by Ralph Rainger and Edward Eliscu) in Queen High (1930).[2]

Among other Broadway musicals for which Schwartz wrote the music are: The Band Wagon (1931), A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (1951), By the Beautiful Sea (1954), The Gay Life (1961), and Jennie (1963). His films include the MGM musical The Band Wagon (1953) with lyrics by Dietz.

Schwartz also worked as a producer, for Columbia Pictures. His work includes the musical Cover Girl (1944) and the Cole Porter biographical film Night and Day (1946).[2]


Schwartz was married to 1930s Broadway ingénue Kay Carrington, until her death when their first son, Jonathan Schwartz (born 1938), was 14. Jonathan is now a radio personality and sometime musician.[3] Schwartz's younger son, Paul Schwartz (born 1956), with actress/dancer Mary Schwartz, is a composer, conductor, pianist, and producer.


Arthur Schwartz died September 3, 1984, in Kintnersville, Pennsylvania.[4]


Schwartz received two Academy Award nominations for Best Song: the first in 1944 for "They're Either Too Young or Too Old" in the film Thank Your Lucky Stars; the second in 1948 for "A Gal in Calico" from the film The Time, the Place and the Girl.[1][2]

In 1972, Schwartz was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.[1] In 1981, he was inducted in 1981 into the American Theater Hall of Fame.[5]

In 1990, Schwartz's hit, "That's Entertainment" from the film The Band Wagon, was awarded the ASCAP Award for Most Performed Feature Film Standard.[1][2]


Schwartz collaborated with some of the best lyricists of his day, including Dietz, Dorothy Fields, Ira Gershwin, Oscar Hammerstein II, Edward Heyman, Frank Loesser, Johnny Mercer, Leo Robin, and Al Stillman.[1][2]


See the section Arthur Schwartz (1900–1984) in List of musicals by composer: M to Z#S.


The following is a selection of songs composed by Arthur Schwartz.

With Howard Dietz[edit]

With other lyricists[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h "Arthur Schwartz". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on December 3, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Artist Bio: Arthur Schwartz". ArtistDirect.com. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  3. ^ James Gavin (March 7, 2004). "Book Review: Frankie & Jonathan: All in Good Time". The New York Times.
  4. ^ Robert Cummings. "Arthur Schwartz Artist Biography". AllMusic.com.
  5. ^ "26 Elected to the Theater Hall of Fame". The New York Times. March 3, 1981.
  6. ^ a b "Stars in Your Eyes". The Dorothy Fields Website. Retrieved November 23, 2013.
  7. ^ Charlotte Greenspan (July 27, 2010). Pick Yourself Up: Dorothy Fields and the American Musical. Oxford University Press. p. 233. ISBN 978-0-19-511110-1.

External links[edit]