Fred Ebb

Lyricist, Screenwriter, Librettist
In the annals of theatrical collaborations, there have been many songwriting partnerships, including Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Bock and Harnick, Strouse and Adams and Kander and Ebb. For the last four ... Read more »
Born: 04/07/1932 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

Music (55)

Gone Girl 2014 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

The Other Woman 2014 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

A Good Day to Die Hard 2013 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

Friends with Benefits 2011 (Movie)

("New York, New York (FWB Remix)") (Song)

Moneyball 2011 (Movie)

("New York New York") (Song)

New Year's Eve 2011 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

Shame 2011 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

Burlesque 2010 (Movie)

("Sitting Pretty") (Song)

War, Inc. 2008 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

Lucky You 2007 (Movie)

("Maybe This Time") (Song)

Chestnut: Hero of Central Park 2006 (Movie)

("New York, New York" (theme)) (Song)

The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause 2006 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

Madagascar 2005 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

Miss Congeniality 2: Armed and Fabulous 2005 (Movie)

("Cabaret") (Song)

Connie and Carla 2004 (Movie)

("Maybe This Time") (Song)

Le Divorce 2003 (Movie)

("Money Makes the World Go Round") (Song)

Chicago 2002 (Movie)

(Lyrics)

Death to Smoochy 2002 (Movie)

("Cabaret") (Song)

From Broadway: Fosse 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Theme Lyrics

Loser 2000 (Movie)

("Cabaret") (Song)

Bitva o Zivot 1999 (Movie)

("Tomorrow Belongs to Me") (Song)

Mystery, Alaska 1999 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

Summer of Sam 1999 (Movie)

("Theme from 'New York, New York'") (Song)

The Music of Kander and Ebb: Razzle Dazzle 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Theme Lyrics

Love! Valour! Compassion! 1997 (Movie)

("Willkommen") (Song)

A Life Apart: Hasidism in America 1995 (Movie)

("New York New York") (Song)

It Could Happen to You 1994 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

Demolition Man 1993 (Movie)

("Nobody Doesn't Like Sara Lee") (Song)

The 65th Annual Academy Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Theme Lyrics

Stepping Out 1991 (Movie)

("Stepping Out") (Song)

Gremlins 2: The New Batch 1990 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

My Blue Heaven 1990 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

Friday the 13th Part VIII - Jason Takes Manhattan 1989 (Movie)

("Theme From 'New York, New York'") (Song)

Sing 1989 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Song

The 60th Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Music

The Thorns 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Theme Song

Who's That Girl 1987 (Movie)

("New York, New York") (Song)

Highlander 1986 (Movie)

("New York New York") (Song)

Bring on the Night 1985 (Movie)

("New York New York") (Song)

Lost in America 1985 (Movie)

("New York New York) (Song)

Transylvania 6-5000 1985 (Movie)

("Transylvania 6-5000") (Song)

Mama Malone 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Theme Song

Starman 1984 (Movie)

("Theme From New York New York") (Song)

Tempest 1982 (Movie)

("New York New York") (Song)

They All Laughed 1981 (Movie)

("New York New York") (Song)

New York, New York 1977 (Movie)

(Song)

A Matter of Time 1975 (Movie)

songs (Song)

Funny Lady 1975 (Movie)

songs("How Lucky Can You Get" "Let's Hear It For Me" "I Like Him/Her") (Song)

Lucky Lady 1975 (Movie)

songs("Get While the Gettin' Is Good" "Lucky Lady") (Song)

Cabaret 1972 (Movie)

lyrics (Theme Lyrics)

Cabaret 1972 (Movie)

(Song)

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (TV Show)

Theme Lyrics

Soldier's Girl (TV Show)

Song
Actor (6)

The Kennedy Center Honors 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The Music of Kander and Ebb: Razzle Dazzle 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Broadway '97: Launching the Tonys 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

Funny 1989 (Movie)

Songwriter (Actor)

Standing Room Only: Liza in London 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor
Writer (5)

Chicago 2002 (Movie)

(from musical play: "Chicago") (Source Material)

Baryshnikov on Broadway 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Writer

Magnavox Presents Frank Sinatra 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Writer

Three For the Girls 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Writer

Liza With a Z 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Writer
Producer (2)

Liza Minnelli in Sam Found Out: A Triple Play 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Co-Executive Producer

Goldie and Liza Together 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Producer
Director (1)

Liza Minnelli Live! From Radio City Music Hall 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Director

Biography

In the annals of theatrical collaborations, there have been many songwriting partnerships, including Rodgers and Hart, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Bock and Harnick, Strouse and Adams and Kander and Ebb. For the last four decades, Kander and Ebb have been creating successful stage musicals with the dominant theme of entertainment, whether in the nightclubs of Weimar Germany ("Cabaret"), a court of law ("Chicago"), the imagination of a prisoner ("Kiss of the Spider Woman") or the dance marathons of the Depression ("Steel Pier"). The welding of Ebb's wry, witty and sometimes biting lyrics to Kander's mournful ballads and brassy showstoppers has resulted in several contemporary classics, notably the title song from "Cabaret".

A native New Yorker, Ebb received his education at NYU and Columbia. In the early 1960s, he began to write lyrics, collaborating with Jerry Herman on numbers for the revue "A to Z" and writing song with Kander. Kander and Ebb had a hit with "My Coloring Book", first recorded by Barbra Streisand in 1962. Another rising star, Liza Minnelli, starred in their first stage musical, the uneven "Flora, the Red Menace" (1965). An unlikely musical about Communists, the show offered a star-making role for Minnelli (who won a Tony) and included an eclectic score that contains the spunky "All I Need (Is One Good Break)" and the lilting "A Quiet Thing". Two years later, Kander and Ebb had their first bona fide hit, "Cabaret", a musicalization of John Van Druten's play "I Am a Camera" set in 1930s Berlin. Hal Prince's groundbreaking staging, strong performance from a cast that included Lotte Lenya and Joel Grey and a score that was both entertaining and dramatic helped make "Cabaret" one of the most acclaimed musicals of the mid-60s. The production earned eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Score.

Their follow-up projects were hardly of the same magnitude, but offered pleasures. Robert Goulet had one of his best roles as a Canadian photographer recalling his family in "The Happy Time" (1968), staged by Gower Champion. "Zorba" (1968), based on Michael Cacoyannis' 1964 "Zorba the Greek", reunited Kander and Ebb with director Harold Prince and offered Herschel Bernardi a tour-de-force.

In 1975, Ebb and Bob Fosse fashioned the book for the musical "Chicago" loosely based on Maurine Watkins' play about a woman who becomes a celebrity after murdering her lover. Overshadowed by "A Chorus Line" which opened in the same season, "Chicago" was a series of sketches with a pastiche score that paid homage to great vaudeville performers, performed with gusto by leads Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera and Jerry Orbach. When it first opened, many reviewers commented on its dark, cynical approach to the material. Twenty years later, times had changed. In light of the O J Simpson trials and the nation's seemingly endless quest for gossip and entertainment news, "Chicago" was more timely. The 1996 revival featured Ann Reinking, Bebe Neuwirth and James Naughton and earned unanimous raves. Interest in a feature version was rekindled, with Goldie Hawn signed to star as Roxie Hart.

Kander and Ebb shows have generally featured a strong central figure with interests in, if not an all-out pursuit of, entertainment. "The Act" (1978) was structured as nightclub performance and was tailored for the unique abilities of Liza Minnelli while "Woman of the Year" (1981), based on the 1942 Tracy-Hepburn classic became a star vehicle for Lauren Bacall. Chita Rivera won her two Tony Awards headlining Kander and Ebb musicals, the short-lived "The Rink" (1984) and the more successful "Kiss of the Spider Woman" (1992-93). More recently, the pair wrote the score for the 30s-era "Steel Pier" (1997), set against the backdrop of marathon dancing.

Bob Fosse's 1972 feature version of "Cabaret" has been acclaimed as one of the most successful stage-to-screen transfer. Jettisoning the book numbers from the stage show, he refashioned the material so that all the musical numbers (save for the hair-raising Nazi anthem "Tomorrow Belongs to Me") are restricted to the cabaret itself. The film earned eight Oscars, including Best Director, Best Supporting Actor (for Joel Grey reprising his eerie Master of Ceremonies) and Best Actress (Liza Minnelli in her best screen role). Ironically, Kander and Ebb were overlooked in the nominations, despite writing several new songs for the film. Nevertheless, the success of "Cabaret" opened more opportunities for them. The pair received their only Oscar nod (to date) for the jaunty, high-spirited "How Lucky Can You Get?", one of a handful of new songs written for Barbra Streisand to sing in "Funny Lady" (1975). For Minnelli, they wrote the title song for "Lucky Lady" (also 1975) and several numbers, including the now over-sung title tune, "New York, New York" (1977).

For the small screen, Ebb has written special material for awards shows and variety specials, as well as one-act plays for the anthology specials "Three for the Girls" (CBS, 1972) and "Liza Minnelli in Sam Found Out: A Triple Play" (ABC, 1988). He picked up Emmy Awards for co-producing two of the more acclaimed variety specials of the 70s: "Singer Presents Liza With a 'Z'" (NBC, 1972) and "Gypsy in My Soul" (CBS, 1976), starring Shirley MacLaine.

Relationships

Harry Ebb

Father

Anna Evelyn Ebb

Mother

EDUCATION

New York University

New York , New York 1955

Columbia University

New York , New York 1957

Milestones

2011

Final collaboration with Kander before his death, composed the music for "The Scottsboro Boys"; earned a Tony nomination

2006

With Kander wrote the lyrics for the Broadway musical, "Curtains"; earned a Tony nomination for Best Original Score

2002

Received a Grammy nomination for his work on the feature adaptation of "Chicago"

1999

Directed and wrote Liza Minnelli's comeback stage vehicle, "Minnelli on Minnelli"

1997

With Kander, wrote the music for Broadway's "Steel Pier"

1996

Wrote songs for the revised version of "Chicago" on Broadway

1992

Wrote songs for the revised version of "Kiss of the Spider Woman," starring Rivera; earned third Tony Award for Best Score (shared with Kander)

1991

Contributed special material to "Liza Minnelli: Stepping Out at Radio City"; later aired on PBS under the title "Liza Minnelli Live! From Radio City Music Hall"

1991

A collection his songs with Kander was showcased in the off-Broadway musical revue, "And the World Goes 'Round"

1990

Contributed special material to Rivera's nightclub act

1988

Was one of the executive producers and wrote one sketch for "Liza Minnelli in Sam Found Out: A Triple Play" (ABC)

1984

Wrote lyrics for the musical, "The Rink," starring Minnelli and Chita Rivera

1984

With Kander, wrote the theme music for the CBS sitcom, "Mama Malone"

1981

Won second Tony for creating the score for the stage adaptation of "Woman of the Year"

1979

Directed and served as a producer for "Liza in Concert at Carnegie Hall"

1978

Wrote lyrics for "The Act," starring Minnelli and directed by Scorsese

1977

Co-wrote with Kander, the song "New York, New York" for Martin Scorsese's film musical starring Liza Minnelli and Robert De Niro

1976

With composer Cy Coleman, produced Shirley MacLaine's TV special, "Gypsy in My Soul"

1975

Earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song for "How Lucky Can You Get?" from "Funny Lady"; shared nomination with Kander

1975

Wrote the book (with Kander) for the hit Broadway musical "Chicago," directed by Fosse

1973

Was one of the writers on the TV special, "Magnavox Presents Frank Sinatra" (NBC)

1973

Wrote one-act of the TV special, "Three For the Girls" (CBS)

1972

Made debut as a producer with the Bob Fosse TV special, "Liza with a Z" (NBC)

1972

Collaborated with Kander to write new songs for Bob Fosse's feature adaptation of "Cabaret," starring Liza Minnelli

1969

Provided special material for Minnelli's NBC TV special, "Liza"

1968

Created lyrics for "Zorba," adapted from the film "Zorba the Greek"

1968

Wrote lyrics for "The Happy Time," starring Robert Goulet

1967

Revised book for revival of the Rodgers and Hart musical, "By Jupiter"

1966

Won first Tony for the musical, "Cabaret"; again collaborated with composer John Kander

1965

First stage musical with Kander, "Flora, the Red Menace"; also first collaboration with Liza Minnelli

1963

Wrote book and lyircs for the stage musical, "Morning Sun"

1962

Met and began collaborating with John Kander

1960

Collaborated with Jerry Herman on songs for the Broadway revue, "A to Z"

1956

Collaborated with Phil Springer on the song, "I Never Loved Him Anyhow"

1951

First theatrical writing job, co-wrote the lyrics for the musical revue, "Baker's Dozen"

Bonus Trivia

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Sources vary on Mr. Ebb's year of birth: some list 1932, others 1933, while others 1936.

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In 1991, Kander and Ebb were inducted into the Theatre Hall.

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Kander and Ebb have the dubious distinction of having created the only two musicals nominated for 11 Tony Awards which did not win a single award: the 1975 production of "Chicago" and 1997's "Steel Pier."

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