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Jerome Kern
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    (January 27, 1885-November 11, 1945)
    Born in New York City, New York
    With Oscar Hammerstein II composed music for the Broadway shows 'Sunny' (1925), 'Show Boat' (1927) and 'Very Warm for May' (1939)
    With Otto Harbach composed for the shows 'Sally' (1920), 'The Cat and the Fiddle' (1931) and 'Roberta' (1933)
    Songs include 'Old Man River,' 'Can't Help Loving That Man,' 'The Way You Look Tonight,' 'Long Ago and Far Away,' 'The Song Is You,' 'A Fine Romance,' 'All the Things You Are,' 'The Last Time I Saw Paris' and 'Smoke Gets In Your Eyes'
    Inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame (1970)
    He worked briefly for his father, a musical instrument salesman, until he enthusiastically ordered 200 pianos instead of two, nearly bankrupting the business.
    He called jazz interpretations of his songs 'fraudulent imitations' and threatened to take legal action against anyone who did not play his songs exactly as he wrote them.
    After suffering a heart attack (1939), his doctors told him to stop composing for Broadway and take less stressful work in Hollywood.
    He died after agreeing to write 'Annie Get Your Gun' but before composing any of the songs.
    He was carrying no ID when he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and was taken to the charity ward of City Hospital before being recognized (November 5, 1945).
    He was called the father of American musical theater.
    He was scheduled to sail on the Lusitania's last voyage, but overslept after staying up late playing requests at a party.
    He won Oscars for best song for 'The Way You Look Tonight' (1936) and 'The Last Time I Saw Paris' (1941).
    'Show Boat' became the first Broadway musical adopted by an opera company when the New York City Opera added it to their repertory (1954).
    Oscar Hammerstein said, 'He dedicated all his lifetime to giving the world something it needs and knows it needs - beauty.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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