Loesser, Frank

Loesser, Frank

(Frank Henry Loesser), 1910–69, American lyricist and songwriter, b. New York City. He is noted for smart, often witty lyrics that catch the tone and rhythms of vernacular speech. Loesser rejected the classical music training of his pianist father and brother and began writing show tunes during the year he spent at New York's City College. He moved to Hollywood in 1936 and from the late 1930s to the early 50s wrote songs for dozens of films. Among his earliest movie hits was "Two Sleepy People" (1938; written with Hoagy CarmichaelCarmichael, Hoagy
(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.
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). While a soldier in World War II he begin writing music in addition to words for such songs as "Praise the Lord, and Pass the Ammunition." Loesser won an Oscar for "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (1949) and wrote the score for his last movie musical, Hans Christian Andersen, in 1952. His first Broadway hit came with the score for Where's Charley? (1948; film, 1952) and he struck Broadway gold with the scores for Guys and Dolls (1950; film, 1955); The Most Happy Fella (1956), for which he also wrote the book; and How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (1962, Pulitzer Prize; film, 1967).


See his biography by his daughter, S. Loesser (1993, repr. 2001); The Frank Loesser Songbook (1994); R. Kimball and S. Nelson, ed., The Complete Lyrics of Frank Loesser (2003).

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Loesser, (Henry) Frank

(1910–69) lyricist, composer; born in New York City. As a songwriter in Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s he wrote such hits as "Heart and Soul" (1938, with Hoagy Carmichael), "Baby, It's Cold Outside" (1947), and "On a Slow Boat to China" (1948). After a modest success with Where's Charley? (1948), he scored his greatest triumph, with both critics and the public, with the Broadway classic, Guys and Dolls (1950), for which he wrote both words and music; it earned him a Tony Award. He then wrote the semi-operatic The Most Happy Fella (1956) and in 1962 he won the Pulitzer in drama for the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Even Trying (1961). He also ran a music publishing firm that helped support young composers.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
References in periodicals archive ?
Jo Loesser, Frank Loesser's widow, calls the production "more realistic" than the show's last Broadway incarnation in 1992.