Walter Donaldson

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This article is on the American songwriter. For the snooker player, see Walter Donaldson (snooker player).
Walter Donaldson
Birth name Walter Donaldson
Born (1893-02-15)February 15, 1893
Origin Brooklyn, New York, United States
Died July 15, 1947(1947-07-15) (aged 54)
Santa Monica, California, United States
Occupation(s) Songwriter
Associated acts Gus Kahn
George A. Whiting

Walter Donaldson (February 15, 1893 – July 15, 1947) was a prolific United States popular songwriter, composing many hit songs of the 1910s, 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s.


Walter Donaldson was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of a piano teacher. While still in school he wrote original music for school productions, and had his first professional songs published in 1915. The following year he had a hit with "The Daughter of Rosie O'Grady". After serving in the United States Army in World War I, Donaldson was hired as a songwriter by Irving Berlin Music Company. He stayed with Berlin until 1928, producing many hit songs, then in 1928 established his own publishing company. His company was legally known as "Donaldson, Douglas & Gumble, Inc", but all the publications had Walter Donaldson's name in large letters, and the legal name of the company in fine print.

Donaldson is primarily known as a composer, rather than as a lyricist, although he wrote words and music for dozens of songs. Among the big hits, he wrote both words and music were At Sundown and Little White Lies. In his prolific career, he published some 600 original songs.

Selected Works[edit]

Several of these songs were written with lyricist Gus Kahn. He also worked with Bret Hanlon, Sam M. Lewis, and Joe Young.

At the end of the 1920s, Donaldson moved to Hollywood and worked composing and arranging music for motion pictures. His film credits include work on such pictures as Glorifying the American Girl, Suzy, The Great Ziegfeld, Panama Hattie, Follow the Boys and Nevada.

Walter Donaldson retired in 1943 and died in Santa Monica, California.

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