In the 1920s she spent time in London, where she appeared in a regular slot at the "Midnight Follies" as one half of a successful cabaret comedy act ("Silly and Dotty") with the English socialite Lady Sylvia Ashley at the London Metropole.
In the 1950s, her biggest success was the show Redhead (1959), which won five Tony Awards, including Best Musical. When she started collaborating with Cy Coleman in the 1960s, her career took a new turn. Their first work together was Sweet Charity. Her last hit was from their second collaboration in 1973, Seesaw. The show began on Broadway on March 18, 1973, and ended its run on December 8, 1973. Its signature song was "It's Not Where You Start, It's Where You Finish".
Fields died of a heart attack on March 28, 1974, at the age of 68. The New York Times reported "Dorothy Fields, the versatile songwriter whose career spanned nearly 50 years, died of a heart attack last night at her home here." She was the sister of writers Herbert and Joseph Fields. She married Eli Lahm in 1939, and they had two children, David and Eliza. Lahm died in 1958.
Thirty-five years after her death, President Barack Obama, in his inauguration speech as 44th President of the United States on January 20, 2009, echoed lyrics by Fields when he said, "Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America". This alludes to the song "Pick Yourself Up" from the 1936 film Swing Time, for which Jerome Kern had written the music, in which Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire sang Fields's words "Pick yourself up; dust yourself off; start all over again".
^Klein, Alvin; and Emblen, Mary L. "NEW JERSEY GUIDE", The New York Times, October 4, 1992. Accessed August 10, 2012. "That's how Dorothy Fields, born in Allenhurst in 1905, is described in the notes on the original cast album of Sweet Charity, the 1966 musical for which she wrote the lyrics."