Warren, Harry

Alternative names
Birth 1893-12-24
Death 1981-09-22

Biographical notes:

"Harry Warren, was born Salvatore Guaragna Warren, on December 24th, 1893 in Brooklyn, New York (died 22 September 1981, Los Angeles, California, USA.) One of the most important of all the popular film composers, Warren is probably best remembered for the innovative 30s film musicals he scored with lyricist Al Dubin. A son of Italian immigrants, from a family of 12, Warren taught himself to play accordion and piano, and joined a touring carnival show in his teens. Later, he worked in a variety of jobs at the Vitagraph film studios, and played piano in silent-movie houses. After serving in the US Navy in World War I, he started writing songs. The first, I Learned To Love You When I Learned My ABCs, gained him a job as a song-plugger for publishers Stark and Cowan, and in 1922 they published his Rose Of The Rio Grande, written with Edgar Leslie and Ross Gorman, which became a hit for popular vocalist Marion Harris. In the early 30s Warren contributed songs to several Broadway shows including Billy Roses revue Sweet And Low. Between 1929 and 1932, Warren wrote for a few minor movies, but made Hollywood his permanent home in 1933, when hired by Darryl F. Zanuck to work with Al Dubin on Warner Brothers first movie-musical, 42nd Street. During the 30s, Warren and Dubin wrote songs for some 20 films, including several starring Dick Powell, such as Gold Diggers of 1933. Shortly before taking his leave of Warners and Dubin in 1939, Warren teamed with Johnny Mercer to write songs for two more Dick Powell films, Going Places (1938) with Louis Armstrong and Maxine Sullivan singing the Academy Award nominee, Jeepers Creepers, and Hard To Get (1938), You Must Have Been A Beautiful Baby). Warren's move to 20th Century-Fox led him to work with lyricist Mack Gordon, whose main collaborator was Harry Revel. During the 40s, Warren and Gordon wrote some of World War II's most evocative songs. They composed for films such as Down Argentine Way, Tin Pan Alley, two films starring Glenn Miller and his Orchestra, Sun Valley Serenade and Orchestra Wives. While at Fox Warren also wrote the songs for another Alice Faye movie, in partnership with Leo Robin. From 1945-52 Warren worked for MGM Pictures, and won his third Oscar, in partnership with Johnny Mercer, for On The Atchison, Topeka, And The Santa Fe, from the Judy Garland /Ray Bolger film, The Harvey Girls (1946). Warren and Mercer also provided songs for the Fred Astaire /Vera-Ellen movie The Belle Of New York, which included Baby Doll, Seeings Believing, I Wanna Be A Dancin Man and Bachelor Dinner Song. In 1949, after 10 years apart, MGM reunited Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, for their last musical together, The Barkleys Of Broadway. The musical score, by Warren and Ira Gershwin included the ballad, You'd Be Hard To Replace, the novelty, My One And Only Highland Fling and the danceable Shoes With Wings On. Other Warren collaborators while he was at MGM included Dorothy Fields, Arthur Freed and Mack Gordon, the latter for some songs to the Judy Garland /Gene Kelly film Summer Stock (1950), including If You Feel Like Singing and You, Wonderful You. In 1952, Warren teamed with lyricist Leo Robin for Paramount's Just For You, starring Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman. In the following year, together with Jack Brooks, he provided Dean Martin with one of his biggest hits, That's Amore, from the film The Caddy (1953), which sold over three million copies. Warren remained under contract to Paramount until 1961, writing mostly scores for dramatic films such as The Rose Tattoo (1955) and An Affair To Remember (1957). In the early 50s he went into semi-retirement. On his 80th birthday he was elected to the Songwriters Hall Of Fame. Warren was one of the most respected and energetic of the songwriters from the 30s, and a year before his death in 1981, many of those hits that he wrote with Al Dubin were celebrated again in Broadway and London stage versions of the movie 42nd Street." Source used: _Grove Music Online_.

From the description of Papers, ca. 1930-1981. (University of California, Los Angeles). WorldCat record id: 320046497


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  • Composers--Archival resources
  • Television music--Vocal scores with piano
  • Musical revues, comedies, etc.--Excerpts--Scores
  • Theatrical producers and directors--Drama
  • Music
  • Television music--Scores
  • Popular music
  • Musical revues, comedies, etc.--Excerpts--Vocal scores with piano
  • Motion picture music--Scores
  • Musical theater


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