Bert Kalmar

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Bert Kalmar
Harry Ruby & Bert Kalmar00.jpg
L to R: Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmar
Born(1884-02-10)February 10, 1884
DiedSeptember 18, 1947(1947-09-18) (aged 63)
  • Songwriter
  • screenwriter
SpouseJessie Brown

Bert Kalmar (February 10, 1884 – September 18, 1947)[1] was an American songwriter, who was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.[2] He was also a screenwriter.


Kalmar, a native of New York City, left school at an early age and began working in vaudeville.[1] He appeared on stage as a magician, comedian and dancer before switching to songwriting, after a knee injury ended his performing career. By this time, he had earned enough to start a music publishing company, Kalmar and Puck, where he collaborated with a number of songwriters, including Harry Puck (1891–1964) and Harry Ruby.[3] The publishing firm also operated under the name Kalmar, Puck, Abrahams, Consolidated, Inc., the other named partner being Maurice Abrahams (1883–1931)

By 1918, Kalmar and Ruby had formed a permanent songwriting team.[1] Together, they wrote the musical score for the Marx Brothers' stage production of Animal Crackers (1928) and subsequent film version.[1] Their songs were also featured in the Marx Brothers' films Horse Feathers (1932) and Duck Soup (1933). Kalmar's partnership with Ruby was portrayed in the 1950 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer musical Three Little Words, starring Fred Astaire and Red Skelton. Kalmar did, however, occasionally work with Oscar Hammerstein II, Ted Snyder and other songwriters.[4]

Bert Kalmar was married to Jessie Brown, with whom he had two children. The couple were later divorced.

He died in Los Angeles, California and was interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Glendale, California.[5]


Broadway [6]

  • Ziegfeld Follies of 1920 (1920) - revue - featured co-songwriter for "I'm a Vamp from East Broadway"
  • Helen of Troy, New York (1923) - co-composer and co-lyricist with Harry Ruby
  • Ziegfeld Follies of 1923 (1923) - revue - featured lyricist for "Society Bud"
  • No Other Girl (1924) - co-composer and co-lyricist with Harry Ruby
  • Holka Polka (1925) - book-editor
  • The Ramblers (1926) - co-composer, co-lyricist, and co-bookwriter with Harry Ruby
  • Lucky (1927) - co-writer with Otto Harbach, Harry Ruby and Jerome Kern
  • The Five O'Clock Girl (1927) and (1981 revival) - lyricist with composer Harry Ruby
  • She's My Baby (1928) - co-bookwriter with Harry Ruby
  • Top Speed (1929) - co-writer and co-producer with Harry Ruby and Guy Bolton
  • High Kickers (1941) - co-composer, co-lyricist with Harry Ruby and co-bookwriter with Ruby and George Jessel
  • The Corn is Green (1943) - actor in the role of "Will Hughes"
  • Fosse (1999) - revue - featured lyricist for "Who's Sorry Now?"

Notable songs

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1338. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ "Bert Kalmar | Songwriters Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2020-02-26.
  3. ^ Kalmar profile. AllMusic. Retrieved: April 29, 2013.
  4. ^ Bert Kalmar song catalog. Archived 2013-05-15 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved: April 29, 2013.
  5. ^ "Bert Kalmar". Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  6. ^ Bert Kalmar at the Internet Broadway Database

External links[edit]