Arthur Schwartz

Composer, Producer, Singer
A former educator and attorney, composer Arthur Schwartz began his career in the 1920s and remained active for some six decades, crafting lilting, memorable melodies for such standards as "I Guess I'll Have to Change My ... Read more »
Born: 11/25/1900 in Brooklyn, New York, USA


Music (24)

I Capture the Castle 2003 (Movie)

("You And The Night And The Music") (Song)

From Broadway: Fosse 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)


Amélie 2001 (Movie)

("Dancing in the Dark") (Song)

Hannibal 2001 (Movie)

("That's Entertainment) (Song)

Real Sex 27: Slippery When Wet 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)


The End of the Affair 1999 (Movie)

("Haunted Heart") (Song)

That's Entertainment! III 1994 (Movie)

("Two Faced Woman" from "Torch Song" "The Girl Hunt" from "The Band Wagon" "That's Entertainment" from "The Band Wagon") (Music)

An Evening With Maria Ewing 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)


The Fred Astaire Songbook 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)


The Two Jakes 1990 (Movie)

("Haunted Heart") (Song)

Evening at Pops (07/16/88) 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)


Radio Days 1987 (Movie)

songs("Dancing in the Dark" "They're Either Too Young or Too Old") (Song)

I'm Dancing As Fast As I Can 1982 (Movie)

("I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan") (Song)

Jazz in Exile 1981 (Movie)

("Alone Together") (Song)

Communion 1978 (Movie)

("Something To Remember You By") (Song)

The Telephone Book 1970 (Movie)

("Something to Remember You By") (Song)

You're Never Too Young 1955 (Movie)

songs (Song)

Dangerous When Wet 1953 (Movie)


The Band Wagon 1953 (Movie)

songs("That's Entertainment" "A Shine On Your Shoes" "Dancing In the Dark" "Triplets") (Song)

Thank Your Lucky Stars 1942 (Movie)

songs (Song)

That Girl From Paris 1935 (Movie)

songs (Song)

Excuse My Dust (Movie)

(Composer (Music Score))

Navy Blues (Movie)

(Composer (Music Score))

The Time, the Place and the Girl (Movie)

(Composer (Music Score))
Writer (1)

Thank Your Lucky Stars 1942 (Movie)

(From Story)
Producer (1)

Cover Girl 1944 (Movie)



A former educator and attorney, composer Arthur Schwartz began his career in the 1920s and remained active for some six decades, crafting lilting, memorable melodies for such standards as "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan", "That's Entertainment" and "Dancing in the Dark". Ironically, Schwartz was not encouraged by his family in his musical interest. The second son of an attorney, he was not allowed to study music and instead encouraged to pursue the law. As is often the case, the forbidden became appealing and Schwartz secretly taught himself how to play the piano and by age 14 was accompanying silent films at the Cortelyou Movie Emporium in his native Brooklyn. Still, he was a dutiful son and completed his studies at New York University and Columbia University.

While working on his law degree, Schwartz taught English to high school students and pursued composing songs as a hobby. In 1923, he published his first song, the now forgotten ditty "Baltimore, MD, You're the Only Doctor for Me" (with lyrics by Eli Dawson). The following year, he passed the New York State bar exam and opened a law office on Broadway. During the summer of 1924, Schwartz spent time working as a counselor at the Brant Lake Camp in the Adirondacks where he made the acquaintance of lyricist Lorenz Hart and the pair soon collaborated on songs for camp shows. One of their numbers, "I Know My Girl By Her Perfume", was sold to the vaudeville act of Besser and Amy for $75.

Schwartz also became friendly with composer George Gershwin who provided encouragement. While not abandoning law, he continued to pen songs, several of which began to find placement in revues like "The Grand Street Follies". At Hart's insistence, Schwartz took a year off from his successful legal practice and quickly caught the attention of producer Tom Weatherly who hired him to compose the score for a Broadway revue. Weatherly introduced Schwartz to the man who was to become perhaps his best remembered collaborator -- Howard Dietz, a native New Yorker who was a classmate of Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II.

The pair enjoyed success with their contributions to "The Little Show", a revue with sketches by Dietz and George S Kaufman, among others, and starring Clifton Webb, Fred Allen and Libby Holman. One of the show's musical numbers was "I Guess I'll Have to Change My Plan", a Schwartz melody originally with lyrics by Lorenz Hart (then called "I Love to Lie Awake in Bed"). Dietz and Schwartz were hired to make magic strike again on "The Second Little Show" (1930), but despite their efforts the show was not a success. The duo fared somewhat better with "Three's a Crowd" (also 1930), which reunited them with Webb, Holman and Allen. Of the numbers created for the show, Holman's solo "Something to Remember You By". Originally meant as an up-tempo comic number, the song was reinterpreted by Holman as a torch song.

In 1931, Schwartz and Dietz were asked to compose a complete score for a musical, the revue "The Band Wagon", a vehicle for Fred and Adele Astaire. Once again Dietz collaborated with George S Kaufman on the sketches and the finished product was highly praised. The Astaires shone in their dance numbers (like "Hoops") but the standout song was "Dancing in the Dark", sung by John Barker and danced to by Tilly Losch.

Although the duo continued to collaborate throughout the 1930s on revues ("Flying Colors" in 1932 and "At Home Abroad" in 1935) and book shows (1934's "Revenge With Music" and 1937's "Between the Devil"), none was a box-office hit, although these productions produced such standards as "Alone Together", "Love Is a Dancing Thing", "You and the Night and the Music", and "I See Your Face Before Me". Perhaps the most prolific assignment was providing the songs -- close to 100 written over a two-week period -- for the radio program "The Gibson Family" in 1936. Having enjoyed a run of nearly a decade (during which each also enjoyed outside collaborations), Schwartz and Dietz went their separate ways in 1937. By that time, Schwartz had already begun to contributed songs to motion pictures, including "Seal It With a Kiss" and "Live and Learn" (with lyrics by Edward Heyman) introduced by Lily Pons in "The Girl From Paris" (1937). During the next ten years, he would enjoy a new phase in his career composing for movies and collaborating with some of the top lyric writers in Hollywood. In 1943, he and Frank Loesser crafted the Oscar-nominated "They're Either Too Young or Too Old" introduced by Bette Davis in "Thank Your Lucky Stars". Schwartz garnered a second Academy Award nomination for "A Gal in Calico" (with a Leo Robin lyric) which was featured in 1946's "The Time, the Place and the Girl". He then segued to producing films like "Cover Girl" (1944) and the sanitized Cole Porter biopic "Night and Day" (1946).

Schwartz, however, did not abandon the stage during this period. Neither "Virginia" (1938, written with Irving Stillman) nor "American Jubilee (1939, with Oscar Hammerstein II) proved a success. In 1939, he was teamed for the first time with lyric writer Dorothy Fields on the score for the Ethel Merman-Jimmy Durante vehicle "Stars in Your Eyes". They later enjoyed modest hits with a pair of Broadway musicals, "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (1941) and "By the Beautiful Sea" (1954), both starring Shirley Booth. Schwartz and Ira Gershwin joined forces for the ill-fated "Park Avenue" (1946) and a reunion with Dietz on "Inside U.S.A." (1948) was also a disappointment. (Although the latter included the lovely "Haunted Heart" and the amusing "Rhode Island Is Famous for You".)

When MGM decided to film "The Band Wagon" in 1953, Schwartz and Dietz reunited to provide a new song, "That's Entertainment", which has since became a sort of unofficial showbiz anthem. Yet, unbelievably the number wasn't even nominated for a Best Song Oscar. Dietz and Schwartz rounded out their long partnership with a TV musical (1961's "A Bell for Adano") and a pair of Broadway shows that were intriguing failures. "The Gay Life" (1961, now known as "The High Life") was a musicalization of Arthur Schnitzler's play "The Affairs of Anatol" that suffered from a uneven book. The lush score was enhanced by the presence of Barbara Cook at the height of her vocal prowess as the original cast recording attests. "Jennie" (1963) holds the distinction of being the only flop on star Mary Martin's resume. Loosely based on the life of actress Laurette Taylor, "Jennie" also featured a weak libretto but the Schwartz-Dietz score is not without its charms and at least has been preserved in the original cast recording.

In 1969, Schwartz relocated to London where he became a frequent contributor to BBC and Thames Television broadcasts. For the first time in his career, he also began to pen his own lyrics and in collaboration with his second wife, Mary O'Hagan, wrote a musical adaptation of Dickens' "Nicholas Nickleby" and revised "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (complete with eight new songs) as "Look Who's Dancing". Although the latter was produced in 1978 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, it was no more successful than the original. Often hailed for his craftsmanship and the beauty of his melodies, Schwartz was awarded the second annual ASCAP/Richard Rodgers Award (shared with Harold Arlen) just prior to his 1984 death from a stroke.


Dora Schwartz


Katherine Carrington

Married July 7, 1934 until her death 1954

Mary Grey

Married June 13, 1954

Solomon Schwartz


Jonathan Schwartz

has two children, a daughter Casey and son Adam

Paul Schwartz



Boys High School

Brooklyn , New York 1916

New York University

New York , New York 1921 - 1924
earned two law degrees

New York University

New York , New York 1920

Columbia University

New York , New York 1921



Wrote eight new songs for revised version of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" (with new book by his wife) called "Look Who's Dancing", produced in summer stock at Stockbrige, Massachusetts


Moved to London


With Dietz, wrote the unsuccessful Mary Martin vehicle "Jennie"


Collaborated with Dietz on the unsuccessful stage musical "The Gay Life", starring Barbara Cook


Composed the score for the TV special "High Tor"


Reteamed with Dorothy Fields for the stage musical "By the Beautiful Sea", again starring Shirley Booth


For film version of "The Band Wagon" wrote new song, "That's Entertainment", with Dietz


Again worked with Dorothy Fields on the Broadway musical "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn", starring Shirley Booth


Reunited with Dietz for the revue "Inside U.S.A."


Earned second Academy Award nomination for "A Gal in Calico" from "The Time, the Place and the Girl", with lyrics by Leo Robin


Was producer of the sanitized Cole Porter biopic "Night and Day"


Collaborated with Ira Gershwin on the unsuccessful Broadway musical "Park Avenue"


Composed the score for and produced the CBS TV special "Surprise for Santa"; purportedly the first 90-minute television special


Served as producer on "Cover Girl"


Collaborated with Frank Loesser on "They're Either Too Young or Too Old"; introduced by Bette Davis in the film "Thank Your Lucky Stars"; received first Oscar nomination as Best Song


Initial collaboration with lyricist Dorothy Fields, the Broadway musical "Stars in Your Eyes", starring Ethel Merman


Wrote the music to lyrics by Albert Stillman and Laurence Stallings for "Virginia"


With Edward Heyman as lyricist, contributed songs "Seal It With a Kiss" and "Love and Learn", to the film "The Girl From Paris"


Penned over 90 songs for the weekly radio series "The Gibson Family"


With Dietz, collaborated on the score for "At Home Abroad", starring Ethel Waters and Beatrice Lillie


Had flop with the conventional book musical "Revenge With Music"


Wrote score for the Broadway revue, "Flying Colors"


First Broadway musical with complete score by Schwartz and Dietz, "The Band Wagon", starring Fred and Adele Astaire


With Dietz, wrote songs for "The Second Little Show"


Enjoyed success with "Three's a Crowd", a revue starring Clifton Webb and Libby Holman


Took sabbatical from law practice and was introduced to Howard Dietz as collaborator on "The Little Show" (1929)


Spent summer as a counselor at Brant Lake Camp; met Lorenz Hart; collaborated on songs for camp shows


Admitted to New York bar


Published first song, "Baltimore, MD, You're the Only Doctor for Me"

Sold song written with Hart, "I Know My Girl By Her Perfume", for $75 to vaudevillians Besser and Amy

While in law school, taught English to high school students

Began writing lyrics to his own songs; collaborated with wife on a musical adaptation of "Nicholas Nickleby"

Final song, "The World Is Turning Fast" (with lyrics by George Balanchine)

Began working as a piano accompanist for silent films at a movie theater in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn while still in elementary school"

Had songs used in "The Grand Street Follies"

Bonus Trivia


Inducted in the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981.