Carolyn Leigh

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Carolyn Leigh
Born(1926-08-21)August 21, 1926
OriginNew York City, U.S.
DiedNovember 19, 1983(1983-11-19) (aged 57)
New York City, U.S.
Associated actsCy Coleman

Carolyn Leigh (August 21, 1926 – November 19, 1983) was an American lyricist for Broadway, film, and popular songs. She is best known as the writer with partner Cy Coleman of the pop standards "Witchcraft" and "The Best Is Yet to Come". With Johnny Richards she wrote the million-seller "Young at Heart" for the film of the same name, starring Frank Sinatra.


Leigh was born to a Jewish family[1] in the Bronx, New York, graduated from Hunter College High School, Queens College and New York University, and worked as a copy writer for radio stations and advertising agencies.[2] Always writing stories and poems, in 1951, when urged to write songs by a musical publisher who gave her a contract, she wrote I'm Waiting Just for You with Henry Glover, and two years later, Young at Heart.[3] Her lyrics for Broadway shows include Peter Pan, Wildcat, Little Me, and How Now, Dow Jones. The last was derived from an original idea of Leigh's, though Max Shulman wrote the script. She provided lyrics for the scores to the films The Cardinal in 1963 and Father Goose in 1964. In 1969 she wrote the lyrics for the musical "Gatsby" with the score by Lee Pockriss and the book by Hugh Wheeler.[4] She also wrote the lyrics for two other unproduced musicals, two other unproduced shows, Caesar’s Wife, again with music by Pockriss, about Julius Caesar’s third wife, Calpurnia, and Juliet, based on the Fellini movie Juliet of the Spirits, with music by Morton Gould.[5] At the time of her death, she was working with Marvin Hamlisch on the musical, Smile.[3] Leigh died on November 19, 1983, of a heart attack. She was divorced from David Cunningham, Jr. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985.[3]

Tony Award nominations[edit]


  1. ^ Tampa Jewish Federation: "Jews in the News: Mike Nichols, Yael Grobglas and Dominic Fumusa" retrieved March 18, 2017 |"The musical was penned by five Jewish theater legends, all now deceased. Lyrics by: BETTY COMDEN, ADOLPH GREENE, and CAROLYN LEIGH—with music by: MARK CHARLAP and JULE STYNE."
  2. ^ "Songwriters Hall of Fame - Carolyn Leigh Exhibit Home". Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Carolyn Leigh, Lyricist for 'Peter Pan', Dies", The New York Times, November 21, 1983, p. D20
  4. ^ The New York Times. A Musical Version of ‘Gatsby,’ Four Decades Late by Rachel Lee Harris, September 29, 2011.
  5. ^ New York Times, Unearthing Lost Gems in Career of Lyricist ‘Unsung Carolyn Leigh’ Reveals Charm of a Gatsby Musical by Stephen Holden, April 8, 2014.

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