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Rodgers, Richard

Born: 1902 AD
Died: 1979 AD
Nationality: N/A
Categories: Composers

1902 – Richard Charles Rodgers was born on the 28th day of June this year in Arverne, Queens, New York to a prosperous Jewish family. He wrote more than 900 published songs, and forty Broadway musicals.


1908 – He attended the same public school as Bennett Cerf and began playing the piano this year at age six.


1919 – Phillip Leavitt, a friend of his older brother, introduced him to lyricist Lorenz Hart. He and Hart struggled for years in the field of musical comedy, writing a number of amateur shows, but they made their professional debut with the song "Any Old Place With You," featured in this year Broadway musical comedy A Lonely Romeo.


1920 – Their first professional production was Poor Little Ritz Girl in this year.


1921 – He attended Columbia University, but dropped out this year, and then attended the Institute of Musical Art (Juilliard). Rodgers was influenced by composers Victor Herbert, Jerome Kern, and Arthur Sullivan.


1924 – Their next professional show was not until The Melody Man.


1925 – He was considering quitting show biz to sell children’s underwear when he and Hart finally broke through in this year.


1926 – Throughout the rest of the decade, the duo wrote several hit shows for both Broadway and London, including The Girl Friend and Peggy-Ann both in this year.


1927 – It was followed by A Connecticut Yankee and Present Arms in 1928.


1930 – He married Dorothy Belle Feigner. Their daughter, Mary, is the composer of Once upon a Mattress and an author of children’s books.


1932 – He and Hart did create some classics while out west, writing a number of songs and five film scores by this year, including Love Me Tonight.


1935 – They returned to Broadway with a vengeance (while also continuing to write film scores), writing an almost unbroken string of hit shows that only stopped when Hart, a troubled alcoholic, died in 1943.


1950 – During this era until 1960, Rodgers continues to enjoy success both in his life and career.


1952 – He worked without a lyricist to provide music for the 26-episode World War II television documentary "Victory at Sea". He had also produced several symphonic pieces, including Winston Churchill: The Valiant Years, for which he won an Emmy Award.


1962 – After Hammerstein’s death in 1960, he wrote both words and music for his first new Broadway project No Strings in this year, which earned two Tony Awards.


1979 – A survivor of cancer of the jaw, a heart attack and a laryngectomy, Richard Rodgers died aged 77 this year in New York City.