Berlin, Irving, 1888-1989

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1888-05-11
Death 1989-09-22
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

American composer.

From the description of Irving Berlin letter to John W. Rumsey, 1959 May 15. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 608505243

From the description of Irving Berlin letter to Harry Ruby, 1971 Jan. 5. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 608505236

From the description of Irving Berlin letter to Harry Ruby, 1957 Dec. 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 608505260

From the description of Irving Berlin letter to Harry Ruby, 1956 May 22. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 608505213

From the description of Irving Berlin letter to George W. Cohen, 1949 May 6. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 606009824

From the description of Irving Berlin letter to Albert Willemetz, 1954 June 3. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 606009815

From the description of Irving Berlin letter to Harry Ruby, 1942 Sept. 11. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 606009829

From the description of Irving Berlin letter to Harry Ruby, 1971 Jan. 26. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 608505228

A stage adaptation of the 1954 film White Christmas which featured Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, which was in turn a remake of the 1942 film Holiday Inn, featuring Crosby and Fred Astaire.

From the description of Irving Berlin's White Christmas : a musical comedy based on the [1954] movie by Norman Franks and Norman Panama [and also based on the 1942 film Holiday Inn, written by Elmer Rice and Claude Binyon] / music and lyrics by Irving Berlin ; book by David Ives and Paul Blake, 2005. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 707689847

Irving Berlin, songwriter. Book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse.

From the description of Call me Madam: typescript, n.d. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122532981

Irving Berlin (1888-1989), a writer and composer of popular songs, wrote "I Like Ike", which was used by Eisenhower's staff during the 1952 presidential campaign. Eisenhower presented Berlin with a special gold medal from the U.S. Congress in 1955 in recognition of his patriotic and popular songs.

From the description of Berlin, Irving, 1888-1989 (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration). naId: 10581100

American composer and lyricist.

From the description of Irving Berlin correspondence, 1954 July 28 and Aug. 16. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 711788491

Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was a European-born American composer and lyricist whose compositions included, among others, God bless America.

From the guide to the Irving Berlin sheet music, 1909-1957., (Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University)

American songwriter of Russian birth.

From the description of Typewritten letter signed, dated : [n.p.], to Lt. Col. John B. Bellinger, 1941 June 18. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270672373

Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was one of the great American songwriters of the 20th century.

In 1907 he published his first song, "Marie From Sunny Italy" and by 1911 he had his first major international hit, "Alexander's Ragtime Band." Over the next five decades, Irving Berlin wrote many ballads, dance numbers, novelty tunes and love songs that defined American popular song for much of the century.

He wrote seventeen complete scores for Broadway musicals and revues, and contributed material to six more. Among the shows featuring all-Berlin scores are "The Cocoanuts," "As Thousands Cheer," "Louisiana Purchase," "Miss Liberty," "Mister President," "Call Me Madam" and "Annie Get Your Gun." Among the Hollywood movies with scores by Irving Berlin are "Top Hat," "Follow The Fleet," "On The Avenue," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "Holiday Inn," "This Is The Army," "Blue Skies," "Easter Parade," "White Christmas" and "There's No Business Like Show Business."

Irving Berlin was a co-founder of ASCAP, founder of his own music publishing company, and, with producer Sam Harris, built his own Broadway Theatre, the Music Box. Through many of his foundations, including the God Bless America Fund and This Is The Army Inc. he donated millions of dollars in royalties to Army Emergency Relief, the Boy and Girl Scouts and other organizations.

From the description of Irving Berlin collection of non-commercial sound recordings [sound recording]. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122517035

Biographical Sketch

  • 1888, May 11: Born Israel Beilin to Moses Beilin and Leah Lipkin. One of eight children, his exact place of birth is unknown, although his family had been living in Tolochin, Byelorussia, (Russia)
  • 1893: Beilin family immigrated to New York Family changed name to Baline
  • 1901: Moses Baline died Izzy (Israel's nickname) quit school and left home to become a street singer
  • 1905: Hired by songwriter-publisher Harry Von Tilzer to plug songs at Tony Pastor's Music Hall on 14th St., N.Y.
  • 1906: Singing waiter at Mike Salter's Pelham Café, in Chinatown, N.Y. Began writing and performing his own lyrics and parodies
  • 1907: Wrote lyrics for first published song, "Marie from Sunny Italy", and earned 37 cents in royalties Changed name to Irving Berlin
  • 1908: Worked as a singing waiter at Jimmy Kelly's Wrote "The Best of Friends Must Part," the first song for which he composed both music and lyrics
  • 1909: Hired by Ted Snyder Company, 112 W. 38th St., N.Y., as an in-house lyric writer Wrote "Dorando," his first song published by the Ted Snyder Company and first to achieve commercial success
  • 1910: Wrote "Call Me Up Some Rainy Afternoon," his first number one selling song
  • 1911 Dec.: Became a partner with the Waterson, Berlin & Snyder publishing company, 112 W. 38th St., N.Y.
  • 1911: First major international hit with "Alexander's Ragtime Band" Contributed four songs to the Ziegfeld Follies of 1911
  • 1912 Feb.: Married Dorothy Goetz, sister of songwriter E. Ray Goetz
  • 1912 July: Dorothy Berlin died of typhoid fever contracted in Cuba during their honeymoon
  • 1912 Nov.: Wrote "When I Lost You," his first important ballad
  • 1914: Became a charter member of ASCAP Watch Your Step opened at the New Amsterdam Theatre, N.Y., his first score for the theater Waterson, Berlin & Snyder moved to the Strand Theatre Building at Broadway and 47th St., N.Y. Established Irving Berlin Inc., at 1571 Broadway, N.Y.
  • 1918, Feb. 6: Became United States citizen
  • 1918 Spring: Entered the U.S. Army as a private
  • 1918 Aug.: Yip, Yip, Yaphank opened; Berlin wrote the Army show to raise money to build a service club at Camp Upton, N.Y. In the show he performed "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up In the Morning," and declined to include "God Bless America," (only to resurface 30 years later for the next World War effort)
  • 1919: Honorably discharged from the Army Moved his offices to 1587 Broadway, N.Y. Wrote score for Ziegfeld Follies of 1919, including the hit "A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody"
  • 1920: Built the Music Box Theatre on W. 45th St., N.Y., in partnership with Sam Harris
  • 1921: Irving Berlin Inc. moved to 1607 Broadway, N.Y. Music Box Revue of 1921 opened at the Music Box Theatre, produced by partner Sam H. Harris
  • 1922: Leah Baline (Irving's mother) died Music Box Revue of 1922 opened at the Music Box Theatre
  • 1924: Met Ellin Mackay, daughter of Clarence Mackay, (owner of the postal telegraph company), and Katherine Duer Blake Wrote hits "All Alone" and "What'll I Do" Music Box Revue of 1924 opened, the fourth revue in his series at the Music Box Theatre
  • 1925: Wrote "Always" and "Remember" The Cocoanuts opened in New York
  • 1926, Jan. 4: Irving and Ellin married at City Hall accompanied by national press and against the wishes of her father; after an eight month honeymoon aboard the USS Leviathan, the couple returned to Manhattan
  • 1926, Nov. 25: Daughter Mary Ellin Berlin born
  • 1926 Dec.: Wrote "Blue Skies" and on Christmas day presented it to his month old daughter, "for Mary Ellin, Christmas 1926"
  • 1927: Ziegfeld Follies of 1927 opened, with complete score by Berlin Al Jolson sang "Blue Skies" in the first full-length soundtrack film, The Jazz Singer
  • 1928, Dec. 1: Son Irving Berlin Jr. born (died 25 days later)
  • 1928: The Cocoanuts opened in London Berlin wrote theme songs for the films The Awakening, Coquette, and Lady of the Pavement
  • 1929: Wrote songs for the films Hallelujah, Mammy, including "Let Me Sing and I'm Happy," and Puttin' on the Ritz featuring the title song Film version of The Cocoanuts, shot in New York, was released
  • 1930: Wrote the score for the film Reaching for the Moon. All but two songs were dropped due to the dying popularity of musicals
  • 1932, Feb. 13: Face the Music opened in New York
  • 1932, Feb. 21: Daughter Linda Louise Berlin born
  • 1932: Songs "How Deep Is the Ocean" and "Say It Isn't So" were released
  • 1933: Irving Berlin Inc. moved to 799 7th Ave., N.Y. As Thousands Cheer opened at Music Box Theatre; score included "Easter Parade," "Heat Wave," and "Supper Time"
  • 1934: Appeared on cover of Time magazine
  • 1935: New York premiere of film Top Hat, score included "Cheek to Cheek," "Isn't This a Lovely Day," and "Top Hat, White Tie and Tails"
  • 1936, June 6: Daughter Elizabeth Irving Berlin born
  • 1936: New York premiere of film Follow the Fleet, score included "I'm Putting All My Eggs in One Basket," "I'd Rather Lead a Band," and "Let's Face the Music and Dance"
  • 1937: New York premiere of the film On the Avenue, score included "I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm," and "Slumming on Park Avenue"
  • 1938, Nov. 10: "God Bless America" introduced by Kate Smith on an Armistice Day radio broadcast
  • 1938: Films Alexander's Ragtime Band and Carefree released
  • 1939: Film Second Fiddle released
  • 1940: Louisiana Purchase opened at the Imperial Theatre, N.Y.
  • 1941: Film version of Louisiana Purchase released Wrote three songs for the war effort and donated the royalties to the following organizations: the American Red Cross ("Angels of Mercy"); the Treasury Department ("Any Bonds Today"); and the Ordinance Department ("Arms for the Love of America")
  • 1942, July 4: This is the Army opened at the Broadway Theatre in New York; Berlin appeared in the show and sang "Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning"
  • 1942 Aug.: Film Holiday Inn premiered in New York; featured Bing Crosby's rendition of "White Christmas"
  • 1942, Oct. 1: National tour of This is the Army opened at the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.
  • 1943: Film version of This is the Army released, raising more than nine million dollars for Army Relief
  • 1944: Berlin severed partnership with Saul Bornstein Irving Berlin Inc. closed Irving Berlin Music Company opened at 1650 Broadway, N.Y.
  • 1945: This is the Army overseas tour ended Awarded the Medal of Merit by President Harry S. Truman
  • 1946, May 16: Annie Get Your Gun opened at the Imperial Theatre, N.Y.
  • 1946, Oct. 16: New York premiere of the film Blue Skies
  • 1948, June 30: New York premiere of the film Easter Parade
  • 1948 Dec.: Traveled with Bob Hope to Germany to entertain American troops during the airlift
  • 1949: Miss Liberty opened at the Imperial Theatre, N.Y.
  • 1950: Film version of Annie Get Your Gun released Call Me Madam opened at the Imperial Theatre, N.Y.
  • 1951: Received Tony Award for Call Me Madam score
  • 1952: Began preliminary work on unproduced show Palm Beach, based on Cleveland Amory's book The Last Resorts
  • 1953: Film version of Call Me Madam released
  • 1954: Awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Dwight D. Eisenhower Films White Christmas and There's No Business Like Show Business released
  • 1955: Worked on unproduced show Sentimental Guy, based on The Legendary Mizners by Alva Johnston
  • 1957: "Sayonara" was featured in the film of the same name
  • 1962: Mr. President opened at the Imperial Theatre
  • 1963: Began work on film project Say it with Music for MGM Irving Berlin Music Company moved to 1290 Avenue of the Americas, N.Y.
  • 1966: Annie Get Your Gun revived at Lincoln Center, New York State Theater
  • 1968: Honored with a television tribute by Ed Sullivan
  • 1969: MGM stopped production of Say it with Music
  • 1973: Last public appearance singing "God Bless America" at White House dinner honoring returning American prisoners of war from Vietnam
  • 1977: Awarded the Medal of Freedom by President Gerald Ford
  • 1986: One of twelve naturalized Americans awarded the Liberty Medal from President Ronald Reagan in celebration of the Statue of Liberty's hundredth anniversary
  • 1988, May 11: ASCAP tribute at Carnegie Hall in celebration of Berlin's 100th birthday
  • 1988, July 29: Ellin Berlin died
  • 1988: Irving Berlin Music Company moved to 29 West 46th St., N.Y.
  • 1989, Sept. 22: Died, New York City Flag flown over US Capitol in Berlin's honor
  • 1990 June: Irving Berlin Music Company moved to the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization, 1633 Broadway, N.Y.

From the guide to the Irving Berlin Collection, 1895-1990, (bulk 1915-1990), (Music Division Library of Congress)

Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was one of the great American songwriters of the 20th century. He was born Israel Baline in Eastern Russia and died in New York City. In 1907 he published his first song, Marie From Sunny Italy and by 1911 he had his first major international hit, Alexander's Ragtime Band . Over the next five decades, Irving Berlin wrote many ballads, dance numbers, novelty tunes and love songs that defined American popular song for much of the century.

He wrote seventeen complete scores for Broadway musicals and revues, and contributed material to six more. Among the shows featuring all-Berlin scores are The Cocoanuts, As Thousands Cheer, Louisiana Purchase, Miss Liberty, Mister President, Call Me Madam and Annie Get Your Gun . Among the Hollywood movies with scores by Irving Berlin are Top Hat, Follow The Fleet, On The Avenue, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Holiday Inn, This Is The Army, Blue Skies, Easter Parade, White Christmas and There's No Business Like Show Business .

Irving Berlin was a co-founder of ASCAP, founder of his own music publishing company, and, with producer Sam Harris, builder of his own Broadway Theatre, the Music Box. Through many of his foundations, including the God Bless America Fund and This Is The Army Inc., he donated millions of dollars in royalties to Army Emergency Relief, the Boy and Girl Scouts and other organizations.

From the guide to the Irving Berlin collection of non-commercial sound recordings [sound recording], (The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.)

Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was born Israel Isidore Baline (Beilin) in Russia, possibly in what was then Belarus. Berlin was one of eight children born to Moses and Leah Lipkin Beilin. Berlin’s family immigrated to the United States and settled in the Lower East Side of New York City in 1893 after living through pogroms in their native land. Moses had been a cantor in Europe but found that he could not find a comparable position in New York and became a kosher butcher. He died five years after their arrival in New York. Berlin’s family struggled to support themselves and Irving eventually ran away from home where he became a street performer.

Berlin eventually took jobs as a singing waiter and became known to various performers and music publishers. In 1911, Berlin became an overnight success when he performed his “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” at the Friar’s Frolic of 1911. Berlin went on to become one of Tin Pan Alley’s and Broadway’s most prolific songwriters of his day and eventually scored many Broadway shows and movie musicals.

Footnotes 1 "Irving Berlin." Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_Berlin. Accessed January 17th, 2013.

From the guide to the Irving Berlin Sheet Music Collection, 1908-1952, (American Jewish Historical Society)

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