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Loesser

Loesser

[les-er]
Loesser, Frank (Frank Henry Loesser), 1910-69, American lyricist and songwriter, b. New York City. He is noted for smart, often witty lyrics that catch the tone and rhythms of vernacular speech. Loesser rejected the classical music training of his pianist father and brother and began writing show tunes during the year he spent at New York's City College. He moved to Hollywood in 1936 and from the late 1930s to the early 50s wrote songs for dozens of films. Among his earliest movie hits was "Two Sleepy People" (1938; written with Hoagy Carmichael). While a soldier in World War II he begin writing music in addition to words for such songs as "Praise the Lord, and Pass the Ammunition." Loesser won an Oscar for "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (1949) and wrote the score for his last movie musical, Hans Christian Andersen, in 1952. His first Broadway hit came with the score for Where's Charley? (1948; film, 1952) and he struck Broadway gold with the scores for Guys and Dolls (1950; film, 1955); The Most Happy Fella (1956), for which he also wrote the book; and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (1962, Pulitzer Prize; film, 1967).

See his biography by his daughter, S. Loesser (1993, repr. 2001); The Frank Loesser Songbook (1994).

(born June 29, 1910, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died July 28, 1969, New York City) U.S. composer, librettist, and lyricist. The son of a piano teacher, in 1936 he moved to Hollywood, where he worked with Burton Lane, Jule Styne, Jimmy McHugh, and Hoagy Carmichael. His wartime songs include “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” and “What Do You Do in the Infantry?”; postwar hits include “On a Slow Boat to China” and “Baby It's Cold Outside” (Academy Award, 1949). His first Broadway musical was Where's Charley? (1948; film, 1952). In 1950 he produced Guys and Dolls (film, 1955), one of the greatest American musicals. It was followed by The Most Happy Fella (1956) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962, Pulitzer Prize). His work for film includes the score for Hans Christian Andersen (1952).

Learn more about Loesser, Frank (Henry) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born June 29, 1910, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died July 28, 1969, New York City) U.S. composer, librettist, and lyricist. The son of a piano teacher, in 1936 he moved to Hollywood, where he worked with Burton Lane, Jule Styne, Jimmy McHugh, and Hoagy Carmichael. His wartime songs include “Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition” and “What Do You Do in the Infantry?”; postwar hits include “On a Slow Boat to China” and “Baby It's Cold Outside” (Academy Award, 1949). His first Broadway musical was Where's Charley? (1948; film, 1952). In 1950 he produced Guys and Dolls (film, 1955), one of the greatest American musicals. It was followed by The Most Happy Fella (1956) and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962, Pulitzer Prize). His work for film includes the score for Hans Christian Andersen (1952).

Learn more about Loesser, Frank (Henry) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

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