Ronell, Anna Petrov

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Ann Ronell (1903-1993) composer and lyricist, was born Anne Rosenblatt in Omaha, Nebraska. She transferred from Wheaton College to Radcliffe College and graduated in 1927. In 1935 she married Lester Cowan, an independent film producer. Encouraged by Irving Berlin and George Gershwin, Ronell wrote the words and music of popular songs including, "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?", "Willow Weep for Me," and "Whistle While You Work." She wrote scores for many films and adapted a series of opera scores for the stage. "The Story of G.I. Joe" received an Oscar nomination. In 1953 Ronell and Cowen cooperated on a joint American-Soviet film "Meeting at the Far Meridien," and in 1964 they traveled to Moscow as part of a Cultural Exchange Program.

From the description of Papers, 1923-1998 (inclusive). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 122297980

Ann Ronell, songwriter, lyricist, and musical director for films, was born Ann Rosenblatt in Omaha, Nebraska on December 25, 1905.

She attended Radcliffe College, where her work for the college newspaper served as the primary launching pad for her career as a commercial songwriter. Through writing reviews and interviews, Ronell made the acquaintance of many of the era's prominent musical figures. An assignment involving George Gershwin led to his offering to connect Ronell with some of his contacts in the music business and she became a coach and rehearsal pianist for Broadway shows. In 1932 she wrote her most widely covered song, "Willow, Weep for Me" and dedicated it to Gershwin. While in New York, Ronell was able to place a number of her songs in shows. In 1933, she left New York for Hollywood, where she worked for the Walt Disney Studios, assisting in creation of the song "Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf" derived from a Three Little Pigs animated short. In 1935 Ronell married the producer Lester Cowan. The majority of her work during this period concentrated on film music, but from the late 1940s onward part of her time was also spent translating and adapting opera and operetta libretti in an attempt to bring these genres to wider audiences. Ronell contributed to the soundtrack scores of numerous films and worked on a number of aspects of musical direction for films.

Ronell was a pioneer in several areas of soundtrack recording and is sometimes given credit for introducing, in The Story of G.I. Joe, the concept of the theme song sung over the title credits of a film. Following her return to New York in the 1960s, Ronell served on the boards of several musical and theatrical associations and in 1991 was inducted into the National Academy of Popular Music's Songwriters Hall of Fame. Ronell died on her 88th birthday on December 25, 1993.

From the description of Ann Ronell papers, 1914-1999. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122454795

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Berezowsky, Nicolai, 1900-1953. person
associatedWith Bernstein, Leonard, 1918-1990. person
associatedWith Cowan, Lester. person
correspondedWith Duke, Vernon, 1903-1969. person
associatedWith Gershon, Russ. person
associatedWith Gershwin, George, 1898-1937 person
associatedWith Jablonski, Edward. person
associatedWith Lazar, Irving Paul. person
associatedWith NCSA Jazz Ensemble. corporateBody
associatedWith Radcliffe College corporateBody
associatedWith Radcliffe College. Class of 1927. corporateBody
associatedWith Ryerson, Florence. person
associatedWith Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
United States
United States
Musical theater
Popular music--Writing and publishing
Women lyricists
Motion picture producers and directors
Women composers
Music, Popular (Songs, etc.)


Active 1890

Active 1949



Ark ID: w64t6m8n

SNAC ID: 57997656