Nancy Hamilton

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Nancy Hamilton

Nancy Hamilton (1909–1985) was an American actress, playwright, lyricist, director and producer.

Early years[edit]

Hamilton was born in Sewickley, Pennsylvania in 1909 and graduated from Smith College. At Smith, she was active in the theater and was president of the school's Dramatic Association her senior year. She caused a bit of a scandal at the college with And So On, a tropical revue that she wrote and directed. Billy J. Harbin, Kim Marra and Robert A. Schanke, in their book The Gay & Lesbian Theatrical Legacy: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures in American Stage History in the Pre-Stonewall Era, wrote, "She [Hamilton] had received special permission from the president of this women's college to hire men to play in the show's orchestra. On opening night the audience was scandalized when it was discovered that Hamilton had incorporated many of the men into onstage scenes."[1]:180

Theater[edit]

Hamilton's initial venture into New York theater was as the understudy to Katharine Hepburn in The Warrior's Husband.[1]:180 She worked in the New York theater from 1932-1954. She wrote sketches and lyrics for the revues New Faces of 1934 (1934), One for the Money (1939), Two for the Show (1940) and Three to Make Ready (1946).[2] In her book, Stormy Weather: The Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen, Linda Dahl quoted Hamilton as saying, "The only way to get a show is to write a show."[3] Dahl added, "The revues she wrote, chock-full of talented unknowns who later became stars, pulled in chick New York audiences."[3]

Hamilton is perhaps best known as the lyricist for the popular song, "How High the Moon."[3]

Personal life[edit]

Hamilton was the lifelong partner of legendary actress Katharine Cornell.[1]

Recognition[edit]

In 1955, Hamilton won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for the film Helen Keller in Her Story (1954),[4] becoming the first woman to win that award.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Harbin, Billy J.; Marra, Kim; Schanke, Robert A. (2005). The Gay & Lesbian Theatrical Legacy: A Biographical Dictionary of Major Figures in American Stage History in the Pre-Stonewall Era. University of Michigan Press. p. 107. ISBN 047206858X. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "("Nancy Hamilton" search results)". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  3. ^ a b c Dahl, Linda (1984). Stormy Weather: The Music and Lives of a Century of Jazzwomen. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 301. ISBN 9780879101282. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 
  4. ^ "(Results of search for "Nancy Hamilton")". Academy Awards. Retrieved 16 November 2016. 

External links[edit]