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Jack Lawrence was born Jacob Lewis Schwartz in Brooklyn, New York City to an Orthodox Jewish family of modest means as the third of four sons. His parents Barney (Beryl) Schwartz and Fanny (Fruma) Goldman Schwartz were first cousins who had run away from their home in Belaya Tserkov, Ukraine to come to America in 1904.
Lawrence wrote songs while still a child, but because of parental pressure after he graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, he enrolled in the First Institute of Podiatry where he received a doctoral degree in 1932. The same year, his first song was published and he immediately decided to make a career of songwriting rather than podiatry. That song, "Play, Fiddle, Play", won international fame and he became a member of the American Society of Composers Authors and Publishers that year at age 20.
In the early 1940s Lawrence and several fellow hit makers formed a sensational review called "Songwriters On Parade", performing all across the Eastern seaboard on the Loew's and Keith circuits.
Lawrence joined the United States Maritime Service during World War II and wrote the official song of the Maritime Service and Merchant Marine, "Heave Ho! My Lads, Heave Ho!" as a lieutenant in 1943, while bandleader at Sheepshead Bay Maritime Service Training Station in New York.
One of Jack Lawrence's first major songs after leaving the service was "Yes, My Darling Daughter", introduced by Dinah Shore on Eddie Cantor's radio program. The song was Shore's first record. His song, "If I Didn't Care", introduced the world to The Ink Spots. And, although Frank Sinatra was already a well-known big band singer, Lawrence's "All or Nothing at All" was Sinatra's first solo hit.
"Linda," a popular song, was written by Jack Lawrence and published in 1946. The song was actually written when Lawrence was in the service during World War II and took its name from the then five-year-old daughter of his attorney, Lee Eastman. (She was Linda Eastman, future first wife of Beatle Paul McCartney.)
Lawrence also wrote the lyrics for "Tenderly", Rosemary Clooney's trademark song (in collaboration with composer Walter Gross, as well as the English language lyric to "Beyond the Sea" (based on Charles Trenet's French language song "La mer"), the trademark song for Bobby Darin. Another French song for which Lawrence wrote an English lyric was "La Goualante de Pauvre Jean", becoming "The Poor People of Paris".
Together with Richard Myers he wrote "Hold My Hand", which was nominated for the 1954 Academy Award for Best Song. It was featured in the film Susan Slept Here.
Lawrence died at age 96 after a fall in his home in Redding, Connecticut on March 16, 2009.
Work on Broadway
- Follow Thru (1929) — musical; actor for the role of "Country Club Boy"
- Courtin' Time (1951) — musical; co-composer and co-lyricist with Don Walker
- Ziegfeld Follies of 1957 (1957) — revue; featured lyricist for "Bring on the Girls" and "Music for Madame"
- Maybe Tuesday (1958) — play; co-producer
- I Had a Ball (1964) — musical; co-composer and co-lyricist
- Lena Horne: "The Lady and Her Music" (1981) — concert; co-producer
- Come Back to the 5 & Dime Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982) — play; co-producer
- The Golden Age (1984) — play; owner of the Jack Lawrence Theatre
- Quilters (1984) — musical; owner of the Jack Lawrence Theatre
- So Long on Lonely Street (1986) — play; owner of the Jack Lawrence Theatre
Jack Lawrence also wrote the lyrics to: " Sleepy Lagoon " a popular hit by the Platters. The music to " Sleepy Lagoon " was written by Eric Coates in 1940.
- Jack Lawrence biography
- Jack Lawrence at the Songwriters Hall of Fame
- Jack Lawrence at the Internet Broadway Database
|This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Jack Lawrence. The list of authors can be seen in the page history.|