Jule Styne

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Jule Styne
Jule Styne (1961 still).jpg
Background information
Birth nameJulius Kerwin Stein
Born(1905-12-31)December 31, 1905
London, England
DiedSeptember 20, 1994(1994-09-20) (aged 88)
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
Occupation(s) Song writer, composer
Years active1926–1994

Jule Styne ( /ˈli/ JOO-lee; [1] born Julius Kerwin Stein; December 31, 1905 – September 20, 1994) [2] was an English-American songwriter and composer widely known for a series of Broadway musicals, including several famous frequently-revived shows that also became successful films: Gypsy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Funny Girl.


Early life

Styne was born to a Jewish family [3] in London, England. [2] His parents, Anna Kertman and Isadore Stein, were emigrants from Ukraine, the Russian Empire, and ran a small grocery. [4] Even before his family left Britain, he did impressions on the stage of well-known singers, including Harry Lauder, who saw him perform and advised him to take up the piano. [5] At the age of eight, he moved with his family to Chicago, where he began taking piano lessons. He proved to be a prodigy and performed with the Chicago, St. Louis, and Detroit Symphonies before he was ten years old.


Before Styne attended Chicago Musical College, he had already attracted the attention of another teenager, Mike Todd, later a successful film producer, who commissioned him to write a song for a musical act that he was creating. It was the first of over 1,500 published songs Styne composed in his career. His first hit, "Sunday", was written in 1926.

In 1929, Styne was playing with the Ben Pollack band. [6]

Styne was a vocal coach for 20th Century Fox until Darryl F. Zanuck fired him because vocal coaching was "a luxury, and we're cutting out those luxuries." Zanuck told him he should write songs because "that's forever." Styne established his own dance band, which got him noticed in Hollywood, where he was championed by Frank Sinatra and began a collaboration with lyricist Sammy Cahn. He and Cahn wrote many songs for the movies, including "It's Been a Long, Long Time" (No. 1 for three weeks for Harry James and His Orchestra in 1945), "Five Minutes More", and the Oscar-winning title song for Three Coins in the Fountain (1954). Ten of his songs were Oscar-nominated, many of them written with Cahn, including "I've Heard That Song Before" (No. 1 for 13 weeks for Harry James and His Orchestra in 1943), "I'll Walk Alone", "It's Magic" (a No. 2 hit for Doris Day in 1948), and "I Fall In Love Too Easily". He collaborated with Leo Robin on the score for the 1955 musical film My Sister Eileen.

In 1947, Styne wrote his first score for a Broadway musical, High Button Shoes, with Cahn, and over the next several decades wrote the scores for many Broadway shows, most notably Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Peter Pan (additional music), Bells Are Ringing, Gypsy, Do Re Mi, Funny Girl, Lorelei, Sugar (with a story based on the movie Some Like It Hot, but all new music), and the Tony-winning Hallelujah, Baby!.

Styne wrote original music for the short-lived themed amusement park Freedomland U.S.A. that opened on June 19, 1960.

His collaborators included Sammy Cahn, Leo Robin, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Stephen Sondheim, Bob Hilliard, and Bob Merrill.

He wrote career-altering Broadway scores for a wide variety of major stars, including Phil Silvers, Carol Channing, Mary Martin, Judy Holliday, Ethel Merman, and an up-and-coming Barbra Streisand.

He was the subject of This Is Your Life for British television in 1978 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews in New York's Time Square.

Styne died of heart failure in New York City at the age of 88. [7] His archive including original hand-written compositions, letters, and production materials is housed at the Harry Ransom Center. [8]


Styne was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972 [9] and the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981, [10] and he was a recipient of a Drama Desk Special Award and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1990. Additionally, Styne won the 1955 Oscar for Best Music, Original Song for "Three Coins in the Fountain", and "Hallelujah, Baby!" won the 1968 Tony Award for Best Original Score.


A selection of the many songs that Styne wrote:


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  1. 1 2 Gilliland, John (1994). Pop Chronicles the 40s: The Lively Story of Pop Music in the 40s (audiobook). ISBN   978-1-55935-147-8. OCLC   31611854. Tape 3, side A.
  2. 1 2 "Jule Styne Biography, Songs, & Albums". AllMusic . Retrieved October 13, 2021.
  3. Bloom, Nate (December 22, 2014). "All those Holiday/Christmas Songs: So Many Jewish Songwriters!". Jewish World Review.
  4. "Current Biography Yearbook". H. W. Wilson Co. April 29, 1984 via Google Books.
  5. Steyn, Mark (April 29, 2018). "I've Heard That Song Before". Steyn Online. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  6. "Songwriters Jule Styne, Martin Charnin, Charles Strouse, Walter Bishop, Sr." on YouTube
  7. Blau, Eleanor (September 21, 1994). "Jule Styne, Bountiful Creator of Song Favorites, Dies at 88". The New York Times .
  8. "Jule Styne: An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center". Norman.hrc.utexas.edu. Retrieved April 27, 2017.
  9. Jule Styne at the Songwriters Hall of Fame
  10. "26 Elected to the Theater Hall of Fame; 26 From Broadway Voted into Theater Hall of Fame". The New York Times . March 3, 1981.
  11. Gilliland 1994, tape 1, side A.
  12. "Some Like It Hot: The Musical". Archived from the original on July 3, 2003. Retrieved October 30, 2015.

Further reading