Carolyn Leigh (1926 - 1983)



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Carolyn Leigh (August 21, 1926 – November 19, 1983) was an American lyricist for Broadway, film, and popular songs. She is best known as the writer with partner Cy Coleman of the pop standards "Witchcraft" and "The Best Is Yet to Come". With Johnny Richards she wrote the million-seller "Young at Heart" for the film of the same name, starring Frank Sinatra.
Leigh was born to a Jewish family[1] in the Bronx, New York, graduated from Hunter College High School, Queens College and New York University, and worked as a copy writer for radio stations and advertising agencies.[2] Always writing stories and poems, in 1951, when urged to write songs by a musical publisher who gave her a contract, she wrote I'm Waiting Just for You with Henry Glover, and two years later, Young at Heart.[3] Her lyrics for Broadway shows include Peter Pan, Wildcat, Little Me, and How Now, Dow Jones. The last was derived from an original idea of Leigh's, though Max Shulman wrote the script. She provided lyrics for the scores to the films The Cardinal in 1963 and Father Goose in 1964. In 1969 she wrote the lyrics for the musical "Gatsby" with the score by Lee Pockriss and the book by Hugh Wheeler.[4] She also wrote the lyrics for two other unproduced musicals, two other unproduced shows, Caesar’s Wife, again with music by Pockriss, about Julius Caesar’s third wife, Calpurnia, and Juliet, based on the Fellini movie Juliet of the Spirits, with music by Morton Gould.[5] At the time of her death, she was working with Marvin Hamlisch on the musical, Smile.[3] Leigh died on November 19, 1983, of a heart attack. She was divorced from David Cunningham, Jr. She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985.[3]
Tony Award nominationsLittle Me (1963) - Tony Award for Best Original Score
• How Now, Dow Jones (1968) - Tony Award for Best Original Score

Carolyn Leigh Biography & Family History

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at New York City, Carolyn Leigh (August 21, 1926 – November 19, 1983), in New York, Manhattan County, New York US


on at New York City, in New York, Manhattan County, New York
Cause of death: Heart Attack

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Heart Attack

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Mother: Sylvia Gershowitz
Siblings: June Silver


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Young At Heart (Lyric)
Fairy tales can come true, it can happen to you
If you're young at heart.
For it's hard, you will find, to be narrow of mind
If you're young at heart.

You can go to extremes with impossible schemes.
You can laugh when your dreams fall apart at the seams.
And life gets more exciting with each passing day.
And love is either in your heart, or on it's way.

Don't you know that it's worth every treasure on earth
To be young at heart.
For as rich as you are, it's much better by far
To be young at heart.

And if you should survive to 105,
Look at all you'll derive out of being alive!
And here is the best part, you have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart.

[Musical interlude]

And if you should survive to 105,
Look at all you'll derive out of being alive!
And here is the best part, you have a head start
If you are among the very young at heart.


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1926 - In the year that Carolyn Leigh was born, on October 31st, Harry Houdini died in Michigan. Houdini was the most famed magician of his time and perhaps of all time, especially for his acts involving escapes - from handcuffs, straitjackets, chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, and more. He was president of the Society of American Magicians and stringently upheld professional ethics. He died of complications from a ruptured appendix. Although he had received a blow to the area a couple of days previously, the connection between the blow and his appendicitis is disputed.

1935 - When she was just 9 years old, on September 8th, Louisiana Senator Huey Long was shot by Dr. Carl Weiss. Weiss was shot and killed immediately by Long's bodyguards - Long died two days later from his injuries. Long had received many death threats previously, as well as threats against his family. He was a powerful and controversial figure in Louisiana politics (and probably gained power through multiple criminal acts). His opponents became frustrated with their attempts to oust him and Dr. Weiss was the son-in-law of one of those opponents. His funeral was attended by 200,000 mourners.

1965 - She was 39 years old when the television show "I Spy" premiered in the fall season on NBC. The stars were Bill Cosby and Robert Culp, making Cosby the first African American to headline a television show. Four stations - in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama - refused to air the show.

1972 - By the time she was 46 years old, on June 17th, 5 men were arrested by police in an attempt to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington D.C.’s Watergate hotel. The burglars were found to be paid by cash from a slush fund used by the Committee for the Re-Election of the President - the official organization of President Nixon's campaign.

1983 - In the year of Carolyn Leigh's passing, physicist Sally K. Ride, 32, became the first US woman astronaut in space as a crew member aboard space shuttle Challenger on June 18th. She was also the youngest (32) astronaut to go into space. Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova was the first woman in space in 1963.

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Published: November 21, 1983
Carolyn Leigh, the songwriter whose lyrics in such hits as ''Hey Look Me Over'' and ''The Best is Yet to Come'' spoke of a persistent optimism, died suddenly in Lenox Hill Hospital on Saturday following a heart attack. She was 57 years old and lived in Manhattan.
Miss Leigh wrote the words for ''Young at Heart,'' ''When in Rome,'' ''A Real Live Girl'' and ''Witchcraft.'' Her songs were among the favorites of Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and Mabel Mercer. Some of her well known lyrics came from musicals such as her 1962 hit ''Little Me,'' starring Sid Caesar. For it she turned out ''I've Got Your Number.'' Earlier, ''Peter Pan,'' which starred Mary Martin, produced ''I've Gotta Crow,'' ''I Can Fly'' and ''I Won't Grow Up.'' It was in the 1954 production of ''Peter Pan'' in which Miss Leigh made her Broadway debut.
Many of Miss Leigh's popular songs, however, survived less notable shows. One example is ''Hey Look Me Over.'' which came from ''Wildcat,'' a 1960 production that starred Lucille Ball. Another is ''Step to the Rear,'' from the 1967 production of ''How Now, Dow Jones,'' which was based on Miss Leigh's ideas and about Wall Street.
Worked With Many Composers As a lyricist, Miss Leigh collaborated with many composers. Her principal collaborators were Elmer Bernstein, Jule Styne, Cy Coleman, and Marvin Hamlisch.
Mr. Coleman hailed Miss Leigh yesterday as one who strove endlessly for perfection and worked at her craft very hard. ''She was a poet,'' he said, ''and she had a great feeling for music.'' Mr. Coleman said Miss Leigh was ''always fastidious.''
At the time of her death, she was working with Marvin Hamlisch on a musical adaptation of ''Smiles.'' Mr. Hamlisch said yesterday in a telephone call from London, that he had ''always wanted to work with her because she was not only a good craftsman, but also was one of the few people who had genuine wit in her lyrics.''
''She also had a lot of heart, she was very human and also very funny.''
Miss Leigh once explained that ''I wasn't specifically educated for this business.'' She said, ''Oddly enough, I don't think you can be. There is no course in writing lyrics.'' And she described herself as a typist, copywriter and secretary ''who couldn't take dictation.'' However, she also once said that ''all along I wrote stories and poems.'' In 1951 she was urged to write songs by a musical publisher who gave her a contract. She then wrote ''I'm Waiting Just for You'' and two years later, ''Young at Heart.''
In films, Miss Leigh's lyrics were heard in ''Stay with Me,'' from ''The Cardinal,'' with Romy Schneider, and ''Father Goose,'' which starred Cary Grant and Leslie Caron.
Miss Leigh also wrote for some NBC- TV productions, and her lyrics were also in ''Something to Do,'' a musical supporting the American worker and sponsored by the United States Department of Labor as a Bicentennial project. Miss Leigh was born in the Bronx on April 21, 1926. She attended Hunter College High School, Queens College and New York University.
Her marriage to David W. Cunningham Jr. ended in divorce. She is survived by her mother, Sylvia Gershowitz of Hallandale, Fla.; her sister, June Silver, and three nieces and a nephew.
Funeral services will be held at the Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel, 1076 Madison Avenue, on Tuesday at 1 P.M.


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Carolyn Leigh (August 21, 1926 – November 19, 1983) was an American lyricist for Broadway, film, and popular songs. She is best known as the writer with partner Cy Coleman of the pop standards "Witchcraft" and "The Best Is Yet to Come". With Johnny Richards she wrote the million-seller "Young at Heart" for the film of the same name, starring Frank Sinatra.
Jan 27, 2018 · Reply
How many people recorded her songs?
Jan 27, 2018 · Reply
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