Hoagy Carmichael

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Carmichael, Hoagy

(hō`gē) (Hoagland Howard Carmichael), 1899–1981, American songwriter, pianist, and singer, b. Bloomington, Ind. While still a student at Indiana Univ. he was influenced by a number of jazz musicians. Several of his jazz tunes, e.g., "Riverboat Shuffle" (1924), became popular in the 1920s. He went on to write many songs, of which "Stardust" (1929) is best known. Others include "Georgia on My Mind" (1930), "The Nearness of You" (1938), "Skylark" (1942), and "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" (1951, Academy Award). Carmichael also played in and recorded with a number of bands. His easygoing charm made him a popular celebrity and was apparent in his film roles, e.g., in To Have and Have Not (1944) and Young Man with a Horn (1950).


See his The Stardust Road (1946) and Sometimes I Wonder (with S. Longstreet, 1965).

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Carmichael, (Hoagland Howard) Hoagy

(1899–1981) composer, performer; born in Bloomington, Ind. Tutored in ragtime piano, he played in small bands while in college, where he studied law. After briefly practicing law, he quit to work as a bandleader and arranger. In 1927 he composed the melody that became "Star Dust" when lyrics were later added; it became one of the most widely performed and recorded popular songs of all time. In 1930 he made a series of recordings for RCA Victor with the Dorsey brothers, Jack Teagarden, Gene Krupa, Benny Goodman, Joe Venuti and Bix Beiderbecke. During the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s he wrote songs and composed film scores; he also occasionally acted in movies, appearing either as himself or a character like himself, playing the piano with a cigarette dangling from his mouth. During the 1940s and 1950s he briefly hosted two radio shows and a television variety show, Saturday Night Revue. In the early 1960s he acted in a weekly television western and was a frequent guest on other television shows. He was elected to the Songwriter's Hall of Fame in 1971.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.