Dietz, HowardVariant names
Howard Dietz and Arthur Schwartz, writers and composers.
From the description of Revenge with music: typescript, 1934. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122532975
Howard Dietz (1896-1983) was an important musical theater lyricist and motion picture publicist, who is well-known for his professional partnership with composer Arthur Schwartz, as well as for his long association with the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film studio.
Born in New York City, Dietz was educated in public schools and attended Columbia University's School of Journalism. He worked as a contributing journalist and writer for various publications while at Columbia and simultaneously was an assistant at Phillip Goodman's advertising agency. During World War I, Dietz left Columbia to enlist in the United States Navy and edited the magazine Navy Life. After the war, Dietz worked as a motion picture promoter and publicist, joining M-G-M in 1924, where he would remain for thirty years and serve in many capacities, including stints as director of advertising and publicity and as a vice-president of the company. Dietz's second career as a lyricist developed and thrived in tandem with his publicity work. His first major Broadway hit came with the revue, The Little Show (1929), which also was his first show with Arthur Schwartz, who would become his most frequent collaborator. Throughout the early 1930s, Dietz and Schwartz continued to write hit revues, including Three's A Crowd (1930), The Band Wagon (1931), Flying Colors (1932), and At Home Abroad (1935) as well as book shows, such as Revenge with Music (1934) and Between the Devil (1937). In later years, Dietz devoted more of his time to his career as a publicist, taking occasional breaks to work on book shows, including Sadie Thompson (1944) with Vernon Duke, as well as The Gay Life (1961) and Jennie (1963) with Schwartz. Dietz was married three times; to Elizabeth Bigelow Hall, Tanis Guines, and costume designer Lucinda Ballard. He also was involved with various other administrative positions throughout his career, including serving a term as director of the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) from 1959-1961. In addition to his many other accomplishments, Dietz also was a painter, whose works received various exhibitions. In 1974, he published an autobiography, Dancing in the Dark: Words by Howard Dietz.
From the description of Howard Dietz papers, 1915-1976. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 86107908
Howard Dietz was born in New York City on September 6, 1896. He was educated in New York’s public schools and he enrolled in Columbia University’s School of Journalism, as a member of the class of 1917. He worked as a contributing journalist and writer for various publications while at Columbia and simultaneously was an assistant at Phillip Goodman’s advertising agency. During World War I, Dietz left Columbia to enlist in the United States Navy and edited the magazine Navy Life .
After the war Dietz worked as a motion picture promoter and publicist, becoming Publicity Director for Goldwyn Pictures Corporation. When assigned to create a trademark for the company Dietz used the mascot of his alma mater, Columbia as the basis for the “Leo the Lion,” which became the famous trademark of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer when Goldwyn merged with Metro Pictures Corporation and Louis B. Mayer Pictures. Howard Dietz also went to M-G-M in 1924, beginning his thirty year sojourn there as Director of Advertising and Publicity, eventually becoming a Vice-President and member of the Board of Directors. In addition to the Leo trademark, Dietz’s achievements at M-G-M include inventing Greta Garbo’s catch-phrase, “I want to be alone,” creating the advertising slogan “More stars than there are in the Heavens” and planning and orchestrating the 1939 premiere of Gone With the Wind in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dietz’ second career as a lyricist was developing and thriving simultaneously with his publicity career. Dietz’s first lyric to be heard on Broadway was a collaboration with composer Arthur Samuels, “Alibi Baby” for the W.C. Fields vehicle, Poppy (1923). Though that lyric was un-credited it brought Dietz to the attention of one of Broadway’s most successful composers, Jerome Kern and the two collaborated on the score for Dear Sir (1924). Dietz next job was filling in some lyrics for the Gershwins’ Oh, Kay! (1926) when Ira Gershwin was ill. In 1927, Dietz and Morrie Ryskind provided the lyrics for Henry Souvaine and Jay Gorney’s music for Merry-Go-Round .
Dietz’s first major hit came with the revue The Little Show (1929) which starred Clifton Webb, Libby Holman and Fred Allen and introduced such hits as “I Guess I’ll Have to Change My Plan” and “Moanin’ Low.” The Little Show was also Dietz’s first collaboration with Arthur Schwartz, his most frequent composer. Dietz and Schwartz followed The Little Show with a less successful sequel, The Second Little Show and the very successful Three’s a Crowd, both in 1930. Three’s a Crowd featured the stars of The Little Show and introduced another Dietz and Schwartz standard, “Something to Remember You By.” Their next collaboration was The Band Wagon (1931) which starred Fred and Adele Astaire and introduced their most famous song “Dancing in the Dark,” as well “High and Low” and “New Sun in the Sky.” The Band Wagon was made into an M-G-M film directed by Vincente Minnelli in 1953, again starring Astaire, with a script by Betty Comden and Adolph Green built around songs from various Dietz and Swartz shows.
Throughout the 1930s Dietz and Schwartz continued to write hit revues, including Flying Colors (1932), which featured “Alone Together” and “Louisiana Hayride” and At Home Abroad (1935) as well as musical comedies such as Revenge with Music (1934) with “If There is Someone Lovelier Than You” and “You and the Night and the Music” and Between the Devil (1937) which introduced “I See Your Face Before Me” and “By Myself.” In later years, Dietz devoted more of his time to his career as a publicist, taking occasional breaks to work on book shows, including Sadie Thompson (1944) with Vernon Duke and The Gay Life (1961) and Jennie (1963) with Schwartz. Dietz also wrote lyrics for English language productions of Die Fledermaus (1950) and La Bohème (1952) for the Metropolitan Opera Company.
Dietz was involved with various other administrative positions throughout his career, including serving as director of the American Society of Composers and Publishers (ASCAP) from 1959-1961. He also ran the publicity and promotion of war bonds for the United States Treasury during World War II. Dietz was also a painter, whose works received various exhibitions. In 1974 he published his autobiography, Dancing in the Dark: Words by Howard Dietz .
In 1917 Dietz married Elizabeth Bigelow Hall and they divorced in 1936. Shortly after his divorce, Dietz married Tanis Guiness and they had one daughter, Liza, born in 1938, but divorced after fourteen years. Dietz’s third marriage, to the Broadway costume designer, Lucinda Ballard, lasted until his death on July 30, 1983 from Parkinson’s Disease.
From the guide to the Howard Dietz papers, 1915-1976, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)
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