Adolph Green is part of the musical-comedy duo Comden and Green, who, over the course of six decades, wrote the music and lyrics to some of the most beloved musicals and movies of the mid-20th century. A lyricist and playwright, Green was born on December 2, 1914, in The Bronx, New York to Hungarian Jewish immigrants. After attending high school, Green worked as a runner on Wall Street while trying to become an actor. He was introduced to Betty Comden, a recent graduate of New York University’s drama program, in 1938. Together, along with Judy Holliday and Leonard Bernstein, Comden and Green created an acting troupe called The Revuers, which would often perform at the Village Vanguard.
On The Town (1944) was Comden and Green’s first Broadway success as a writing team. They wrote the book and lyrics and also wrote two parts for them to perform in the show (the roles of “Claire” and “Ozzie”). Following On The Town, the duo had a few failed musicals and decided to move to California to work for MGM. They wrote screenplays for Good News (1947), The Barkleys of Broadway (1949), and adapted On The Town into a film starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly. However, their biggest film success came from Singin’ in the Rain (1952), starring Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor, and Debbie Reynolds. Green received two Academy Award nominations for his screenplays of The Band Wagon (1953) and It’s Always Fair Weather (1955). In the 1950s, Comden and Green returned to their theatre roots, creating shows such as Two on the Aisle, Wonderful Town, and Bells Are Ringing. Green’s success continued throughout the 1960s. He continued to collaborate with songwriter Jule Styne, and he won a Tony award along with Comden for their score of Hallelujah, Baby! (1968). In the 1970s, Comden and Green wrote the libretto for Applause (1970), and On the Twentieth Century (1978). The duo's final Broadway hit was The Will Rogers Follies (1991).
Comden and Green were inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame in 1980, the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981, and given Kennedy Center Honors in 1991. In his personal life, Green was married to actress Allyn Ann McLerie from 1945 to 1953. He remarried twice more, and remained with his third wife, Phyllis Newman until his death. Together, they had two children, Adam and Amanda. Adolph Green passed away on October 23, 2002 at the age of 87.
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