- Frederick Loewe
Frederick Loewe (
June 10, 1901- February 14, 1988) was a Tony Award-winning Austrian-American composer.
Loewe was born in
Berlinto Viennese parents Edmond and Rosa Loewe. His father Edmond was a noted Jewish operettastar who traveled considerably, to North and South Americaand throughout much of Europe. Fritz grew up in Berlin and attended a Prussian cadet school from the age of five until he was thirteen.
At an early age Loewe learned to play piano by ear and helped his father rehearse. He eventually attended a music conservatory in Berlin, one year behind virtuoso
Claudio Arrau. Both won the coveted Hollander Medal awarded by the school, and Fritz gave performances as a concert pianist while still in Germany.
In 1925, his father received an offer to appear in New York, and Loewe traveled there with him, determined to write for Broadway. This proved to be difficult, and he found work playing piano in German clubs in Yorkville and in movie theaters as the accompanist for silent pictures.
Loewe began to visit The
Lambs Club, a hangout for theater performers, producers, managers, and directors. It was here that he met Alan J. Lernerin 1942. Their first collaboration was a musical adaptation of Barry Connor's farce "The Patsy" called "Life of the Party" for a Detroitstock company. It enjoyed a nine-week run and encouraged the duo to join forces with Arthur Pierson for " What's Up?", which opened on Broadway in 1943. It ran for 63 performances and was followed two years later by " The Day Before Spring". One of Broadway's most successful partnerships had been established.
Their first hit was "
Brigadoon" (1947), a romantic fantasy set in a mystical Scottish village, directed by Robert Lewis. It was followed in 1951 by the less successful Gold Rush story " Paint Your Wagon".
In 1956 Lerner and Loewe unveiled "
My Fair Lady". Their adaptation of George Bernard Shaw's "Pygmalion" retained his social commentary and added unusually appropriate songs for the characters of Eliza Doolittle and Henry Higgins, played originally by Julie Andrewsand Rex Harrison. It was hugely popular and set box-office records in New Yorkand London. Together with Lerner, he won the Tony Award for Best Musical. With "My Fair Lady" a smash hit, MGMtook notice, and commissioned them to write the 1958 film musical "Gigi", which won nine Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
Their next Broadway production, "Camelot", received mediocre reviews when it opened. The director and producer arranged for stars
Richard Burton, Julie Andrews, and Robert Gouletto appear on " The Ed Sullivan Show" and sing a few numbers from the musical, along with an appearance by Lerner and Loewe. The following morning the box office was swamped with requests, and "Camelot" became a huge hit.
Loewe then decided to retire to
Palm Springs, California, not writing anything until he was approached by Lerner to augment the "Gigi" film score with additional tunes for a 1973 stage adaptation, which won him his second Tony, this time for Best Original Score. The following year they collaborated on a musical film version of "The Little Prince", based on the classic children's tale by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This film was a critical and box office failure, but has become a cult favorite, with the soundtrack recording and the film itself back in print (on CD and DVD) after many years of being unavailable.
Loewe was inducted into the
Songwriters Hall of Famein 1972. He remained in Palm Springs until his death.
* [http://www.Frederickloewe.org Frederick Loewe Foundation - Official website]
*ibdb name|id=5688|name=Frederick Leowe
* [http://www.frederickloewe.org/fritz/bio.htm Frederick Loewe bio]
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