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Richard Rodgers (1902 - 1979)

A photo of Richard Rodgers
Richard Rodgers
1902 - 1979
Born
June 28, 1902
Death
December 1979
Last Known Residence
New York, New York County, New York 10021
Summary
Richard Rodgers was born on June 28, 1902. He died in December 1979 at 77 years old. We know that Richard Rodgers had been residing in New York, New York County, New York 10021.
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Updated: November 17, 2017
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Introduction
Richard Charles Rodgers (June 28, 1902 – December 30, 1979) was an American composer of music for more than 900 songs and for 43 Broadway musicals. He also composed music for films and television. He is best known for his songwriting partnerships with the lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. His compositions have had a significant impact on popular music up to the present day, and have an enduring broad appeal. Rodgers was the first person to win what are considered the top show business awards in television, recording, movies and Broadway—an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony—now known collectively as an EGOT. He has also won a Pulitzer Prize, making him one of two people (Marvin Hamlisch is the other) to receive each award. Biography Born into a prosperous German Jewish family in Arverne, Queens, New York City, Rodgers was the son of Mamie (Levy) and Dr. William Abrahams Rodgers, a prominent physician who had changed the family name from Abrahams. Richard began playing the piano at age six. He attended P.S. 10, Townsend Harris Hall and DeWitt Clinton High School. Rodgers spent his early teenage summers in Camp Wigwam (Waterford, Maine) where he composed some of his first songs. Rodgers, Lorenz Hart, and later collaborator Oscar Hammerstein II all attended Columbia University. At Columbia, Rodgers joined the Pi Lambda Phi fraternity. In 1921, Rodgers shifted his studies to the Institute of Musical Art (now the Juilliard School). Rodgers was influenced by composers such as Victor Herbert and Jerome Kern, as well as by the operettas his parents took him to see on Broadway when he was a child. In 1919, Richard met Lorenz Hart. Rodgers and Hart struggled for years in the field of musical comedy, writing several amateur shows. They made their professional debut with the song "Any Old Place With You", featured in the 1919 Broadway musical comedy A Lonely Romeo. Their first professional production was the 1920 Poor Little Ritz Girl, which also had music by Sigmund Romberg. Their next professional show, The Melody Man, did not premiere until 1924. When he was just out of college Rodgers worked as musical director for Lew Fields. Among the stars he accompanied were Nora Bayes and Fred Allen. Throughout the rest of the decade, the duo wrote several hit shows for both Broadway and London, including Dearest Enemy (1925), The Girl Friend (1926), Peggy-Ann (1926), A Connecticut Yankee (1927), and Present Arms (1928). Their 1920s shows produced standards such as "Here in My Arms", "Mountain Greenery", "Blue Room", "My Heart Stood Still" and "You Took Advantage of Me". In 1935, they returned to Broadway and wrote an almost unbroken string of hit shows that ended only with Hart's death in 1943. Among the most notable are Jumbo (1935), On Your Toes (1936, which included the ballet "Slaughter on Tenth Avenue", choreographed by George Balanchine), Babes in Arms (1937), I Married an Angel (1938), The Boys from Syracuse (1938), Pal Joey (1940), and their last original work, By Jupiter (1942). Rodgers also contributed to the book on several of these shows. Many of the songs from these shows are still sung and remembered, including "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World", "My Romance", "Little Girl Blue", "I'll Tell the Man in the Street", "There's a Small Hotel", "Where or When", "My Funny Valentine", "The Lady Is a Tramp", "Falling in Love with Love", "Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered", and "Wait till You See Her". In 1939, he wrote the ballet Ghost Town for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, with choreography by Marc Platoff. Rodgers and Hammerstein Main article: Rodgers and Hammerstein Rodgers (seated) with Hammerstein, 1945 Their first musical, the groundbreaking hit Oklahoma! (1943), marked the beginning of the most successful partnership in American musical theatre history. Their work revolutionized the form. What was once a collection of songs, dances and comic turns held together by a tenuous plot became an integrated masterpiece. The team went on to create four more hits that are among the most popular of all musicals. Each was made into a successful film: Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949, winner of the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Drama), The King and I (1951), and The Sound of Music (1959). Other shows include the minor hit, Flower Drum Song (1958), as well as relative failures Allegro (1947), Me and Juliet (1953) and Pipe Dream (1955). They also wrote the score to the film State Fair (1945) (which was remade in 1962 with Pat Boone), and a special TV musical of Cinderella (1957). Their collaboration produced many well-known songs, including "Oh, What a Beautiful Mornin'", "People Will Say We're in Love", "Oklahoma!" (which also became the state song of Oklahoma), "If I Loved You", "You'll Never Walk Alone", "It Might as Well Be Spring", "Some Enchanted Evening", "Getting to Know You", "My Favorite Things", "The Sound of Music", "Sixteen Going on Seventeen", "Climb Ev'ry Mountain", "Do-Re-Mi", and "Edelweiss", Hammerstein's last song. Rodgers was the subject of a two-part special on Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town television show in 1952. Much of Rodgers's work with both Hart and Hammerstein was orchestrated by Robert Russell Bennett. Rodgers composed twelve themes, which Bennett used in preparing the orchestra score for the 26-episode World War II television documentary Victory at Sea (1952–53). This NBC production pioneered the "compilation documentary"—programming based on pre-existing footage — and was eventually broadcast in dozens of countries. The melody of the popular song "No Other Love" was later taken from the Victory at Sea theme entitled "Beneath the Southern Cross". Rodgers won an Emmy for the music for the ABC documentary Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years, scored by Eddie Sauter, Hershy Kay, and Robert Emmett Dolan. Rodgers composed the theme music, "March of the Clowns", for the 1963–64 television series The Greatest Show on Earth, which ran for 30 episodes. He also contributed the main-title theme for the 1963–64 historical anthology television series The Great Adventure. In 1950, Rodgers and Hammerstein received The Hundred Year Association of New York's Gold Medal Award "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York." Rodgers, Hammerstein, and Joshua Logan won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for South Pacific. Rodgers and Hammerstein had won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for Oklahoma!. In 1954, Rodgers conducted the New York Philharmonic Orchestra in excerpts from Victory at Sea, Slaughter on Tenth Avenue and the Carousel Waltz for a special LP released by Columbia Records. Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals earned a total of 35 Tony Awards, 15 Academy Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes, two Grammy Awards, and two Emmy Awards. After Hammerstein After Hammerstein's death in 1960, Rodgers wrote both words and music for his first new Broadway project No Strings (1962, which earned two Tony Awards). The show was a minor hit and featured the song, "The Sweetest Sounds". Rodgers also wrote both the words and music for two new songs used in the film version of The Sound of Music. (Other songs in that film were from Rodgers and Hammerstein.) Death and legacy Rodgers died in 1979 at the age of 77, after surviving cancer of the jaw, a heart attack, and a laryngectomy. He was cremated and his ashes were scattered at sea. In 1990, the 46th Street Theatre was renamed "The Richard Rodgers Theatre" in his memory. In 1999, Rodgers and Hart were each commemorated on United States postage stamps. In 2002, the centennial year of Rodgers's birth was celebrated worldwide with books, retrospectives, performances, new recordings of his music, and a Broadway revival of Oklahoma!. The BBC Proms that year devoted an entire evening to Rodgers's music, including a concert performance of Oklahoma! Several American schools are named after Richard Rodgers. Alec Wilder wrote the following about Rodgers: "Of all the writers whose songs are considered and examined in this book, those of Rodgers show the highest degree of consistent excellence, inventiveness, and sophistication...[A]fter spending weeks playing his songs, I am more than impressed and respectful: I am astonished." Richard Rodgers is a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame. After Doris Day recorded "I Have Dreamed" in 1961, he wrote to her and her arranger, James Harbert, that theirs was the most beautiful rendition of his song he had ever heard. Mary Martin said that Richard Rodgers composed songs for her for South Pacific, knowing she had a small vocal range, and the songs generally made her look her best. She also said that Rodgers and Hammerstein listened to all her suggestions and she worked extremely well with them. Both Rodgers and Hammerstein wanted Doris Day for the lead in the film version of South Pacific and she reportedly wanted the part. They discussed it with her, but after her manager/husband Martin Melcher would not budge on his demand for a high salary for her, the role went to Mitzi Gaynor. In 1930, Rodgers married Dorothy Belle Feiner (1909–92).[13] Their daughter, Mary (1931–2014), was the composer of Once Upon a Mattress and an author of children's books.[14] The Rodgerses later lost a daughter at birth. Another daughter, Linda (1935–2015), also had a brief career as a songwriter. Mary's son and Richard Rodgers's grandson, Adam Guettel (b. 1964), also a musical theatre composer, won Tony Awards for Best Score and Best Orchestrations for The Light in the Piazza in 2005. Peter Melnick (b. 1958), Linda Rodgers's son, is the composer of Adrift In Macao, which debuted at the Philadelphia Theatre Company in 2005 and was produced Off-Broadway in 2007.
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Richard Rodgers died in December 1979 at age 77. He was born on June 28, 1902. We are unaware of information about Richard's immediate family. We know that Richard Rodgers had been residing in New York, New York County, New York 10021.
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1902 - 1979 World Events

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In 1902, in the year that Richard Rodgers was born, the Bureau of the Census was established. This was the government department that was a boon to family historians - it, even now, is responsible for taking the census and provides demographic information and analyses about the population of the United States.

In 1935, at the age of 33 years old, Richard was alive when the BOI's name (the Bureau of Investigation) was changed to the FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) and it officially became a separate agency with the Department of Justice. J. Edgar Hoover, the Chief of the BOI, continued in his office and became the first Director of the FBI. The FBI's responsibility is to "detect and prosecute crimes against the United States".

In 1946, at the age of 44 years old, Richard was alive when on July 4th, the Philippines gained independence from the United States. In 1964, Independence Day in the Philippines was moved from July 4th to June 12th at the insistence of nationalists and historians.

In 1963, he was 61 years old when the British Secretary of War, 46 year old John Profumo ,was forced to resign when he lied about an affair with 19 year old Christine Keeler. Keeler was also involved with the Soviet naval attaché and charges of espionage were feared. No proof of spying was ever found.

In 1979, in the year of Richard Rodgers's passing, on March 28th, a partial nuclear meltdown occurred at the power plant at Three Mile Island Pennsylvania. Radiation leaked into the environment, resulting in a rating of 5 on a scale of 7 ("Accident With Wider Consequences") . It ended up costing $1 billion to clean up the site.

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