When one reads about the great American songwriters, you always read about Irving Berlin or Cole Porter. There are many songwriters who wrote unforgettable songs who are not remembered as much. One such songwriter is the great Frank Loesser. Loessor was born on June 29, 1910 in New York City. He grew up in a house on West 107th Street in Manhattan. His father had moved to America to avoid Prussian military service and working in his family's banking business. His parents both prized high intellect and culture and thus Loesser was taught musically in the vein of European composers. He was taught piano early by both his father and his older half-brother Arthur Loesser. Loesser did not like his father's posh taste of music and resisted when he wrote his own music and took up the harmonica. He was expelled from Townsend Harris High School, and from there went to City College of New York (even though he had no high school diploma). He was expelled from the CCNY in 1925 after one year for failing every subject except English and gym. After his many various jobs, he decided that he wanted to write in Tin Pan Alley and signed several contracts with music publishers before his contracts were eventually terminated.
After working on the film Neptune's Daughter, he wished to write more than one song for a film. His wish was granted in 1952 when he wrote the music and lyrics for the film Hans Christian Andersen. The movie had notable songs such as "Wonderful Copenhagen", "Anywhere I Wander", "Thumbelina", and "Inchworm". He wrote the book, music and lyrics for his next two musicals, The Most Happy Fella (1956) and Greenwillow (1960).
In 1956, Lynn and Loesser got divorced, and Loesser then began a relationship with Jo Sullivan, who had a leading role in Fella. He wrote the music and lyrics for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1961), which ran for 1,417 performances and won the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and for which he received two more Tonys. The last musical of his that was produced, Pleasures and Palaces (1965), closed during out-of-town tryouts. At the time of his death he was working on Señor Discretion Himself, for which he was writing the book, music and lyrics.
Loesser, an avid smoker, died of lung cancer at age 59 in New York City on July 28, 1969. He was survived by his second wife and four children.You may not recognize Frank Loesser by his name like other songwriters, but Loessor wrote some wonderful songs. From World War II songs like "I Don't Want To Walk Without You" to Broadway hits of the 1950s and 1960s, Loesser wrote many of the tunes the country sung and hummmed back then and still do...