Frank Loesser was an American composer and lyricist across stage and film. Born in New York City in 1910, Frank Loesser was the younger half-brother of the classical pianist Arthur Loesser. Although their father was a piano teacher, Loesser never trained formally and eschewed the classics, favoring popular music instead. He taught himself to play harmonica and piano and could play any tune by ear. Loesser was expelled from high school and worked a variety of jobs to support his family during the depression after his father’s death in 1926.
Loesser achieved his first songwriting credit in 1931 on "In Love with the Memory of You", with music by William Schuman. He went on to land contracts with Universal and Paramount Film Studios, and had his first hit with the lyrics to “The Moon of Manakoora,” The Hurricane (1937). Loesser went on to write the music and lyrics for over 60 films, many of which have become standards, and was nominated for five Academy Awards for best song. He won in 1949 for "Baby, It's Cold Outside".
In 1948, Loesser wrote the score for the musical version of Charley’s Aunt, Where’s Charley?. The show proved to be a hit, including popular songs “Make a Miracle” and “Once in Love With Amy”. However, his next show caused a greater sensation. Guys and Dolls opened to rave reviews in 1950 and won the Tony Award for Best Musical. He followed this success with the musicals The Most Happy Fella (1956) and Greenwillow (1960), before achieving another sensational Broadway hit with How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1961). The show won 7 Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Loesser was renowned for working non-stop, only sleeping for four hours at a time. He produced an incredible volume of songs. At the time of his death from lung cancer in 1969, he was working on Señor Discretion Himself, a musical version of a short story by Budd Schulberg.
Loesser was married twice; firstly to Lynn Garland, with whom he had two children but divorced after 21 years of marriage, and secondly to actress Jo Sullivan, with whom he also had two children.
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