Guy Bolton was born in Hertfordshire, England, the son of an American engineer. After the death of his younger brother, the family moved to America, settling in Washington Heights, NYC. Bolton studied to become an architect but writing was in his bones. After a couple of initial forays into playwriting, Bolton struck up a partnership with the composer, Jerome Kern, that would transform his theatrical fortunes. He and Kern wrote their first musical Ninety in the Shade in 1915 but their third musical Very Good Eddie (produced the same year at the Princess Theatre) was a hit in both New York and then in London.
Bolton and Kern worked together on a number of shows for the Princess Theatre, including Oh, Boy! (1917), Leave It to Jane (1917), and Oh, Lady! Lady !! (1918). Bolton became known for transitioning the style of the new American musical away from the traditions of European operettas. Through his relationship with Kern, Bolton was introduced to P.G.Wodehouse and the trio began to work together regularly. Aside from Kern, Bolton also forged a successful writing partnership with the Gershwin brothers on shows such as Tip-Toes (1926), Lady, Be Good (1925), and Girl Crazy (1930; later adapted as Crazy For You).
Bolton moved to London at the beginning of the 1930s and worked predominantly in the West End theatres. However, in 1934 Bolton had his biggest Broadway premiere with Anything Goes. Teaming up with Cole Porter, Bolton convinced Wodehouse to return to writing for the stage and the trio had a huge smash hit.
During the Second World War, Bolton returned to America and wrote for the big screen in addition to writing for the stage. One of his biggest film credits was Easter Parade in 1948.
In his private life, Bolton was known as a ladies man. He married four times and had four children. Despite living and working in America for a long substantial amount of time, Bolton remained a British citizen until 1956. He died in 1979 during a visit to London at the age of 94.
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