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 ( /ˈlistn/ ; [1] born Julius Kerwin Stein, December 31, 1905 – September 20, 1994) was a British-American song writer and composer best 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 [2] in London, England. His parents, Anna Kertman and Isadore Stein, were emigrants from Ukraine, the Russian Empire and ran a small grocery. [3] 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. [4] At the age of eight, he moved with his family to Chicago where he began 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. [5]

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, and Bob Merrill. Carol Channing was the lead in many of his musicals.

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. [6] His archive including original hand-written compositions, letters, and production materials is housed at the Harry Ransom Center. [7]


Styne was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972 [8] and the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981, [9] 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:


Related Research Articles

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Funny Girl is a 1964 musical with a book by Isobel Lennart, music by Jule Styne, and lyrics by Bob Merrill. The semi-biographical plot is based on the life and career of Broadway star, film actress and comedian Fanny Brice featuring her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nick Arnstein. Its original title was My Man.

This is a list of notable events in music that took place in the year 1949.

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Sammy Cahn American lyricist, songwriter, musician

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<i>High Button Shoes</i> musical

High Button Shoes is a 1947 musical with music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Sammy Cahn and book by George Abbott and Stephen Longstreet. It was based on the semi-autobiographical 1946 novel The Sisters Liked Them Handsome by Stephen Longstreet. The story concerns the comic entanglements of the Longstreet family with two con men in Atlantic City.

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"People" is a song composed by Jule Styne with lyrics by Bob Merrill for the 1964 Broadway musical Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand, who introduced the song. The song was released as a single in 1964 with "I Am Woman", a solo version of "You Are Woman, I Am Man", also from Funny Girl.

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<i>Gentlemen Prefer Blondes</i> (musical) musical

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is a musical with a book by Joseph Fields and Anita Loos, lyrics by Leo Robin, and music by Jule Styne, based on the best-selling 1925 novel of the same name by Loos. The story involves an American woman's voyage to Paris to perform in a nightclub.

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<i>Lorelei</i> (musical) musical

Lorelei is a musical with a book by Kenny Solms and Gail Parent, lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, and music by Jule Styne. It is a revision of the Joseph Fields-Anita Loos book for the 1949 production Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and includes many of the Jule Styne-Leo Robin songs written for the original.

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Milton Rosenstock was an American conductor, composer, and arranger. Trained at the Juilliard School, he was highly active as a musical director for Broadway musicals from 1942 through 1980; serving in that capacity for 29 productions, including the original productions of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1949), Can-Can (1953), Bells Are Ringing (1956), Stop the World – I Want to Get Off (1962), Oliver! (1963), Funny Girl (1964), and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1972). He also composed the music for the 1973 revue Nash at Nine and worked as musical supervisor for the 1989 production of Meet Me in St. Louis; the latter of which was his last project on Broadway. In 1948 he won the Tony Award for Best Conductor and Musical Director for Finian's Rainbow. He was nominated twice more for that award: for The Vamp (1956) and the original Broadway production of Gypsy (1960). He served as the music director of the Lyric Chamber Theater during the 1960s and was the music director of the American Ballet Theatre during the late 1960s. From 1981 until his death eleven years later of heart disease he was principal conductor of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

"The Christmas Waltz" is a Christmas song written by Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne for Frank Sinatra, who recorded it in 1954 as the B-side of a new recording of "White Christmas", in 1957 for his album A Jolly Christmas from Frank Sinatra, and in 1968 for The Sinatra Family Wish You a Merry Christmas.


  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. Bloom, Nate (December 22, 2014). "All those Holiday/Christmas Songs: So Many Jewish Songwriters!". Jewish World Review.
  3. "Current Biography Yearbook". H. W. Wilson Co. April 29, 1984 via Google Books.
  4. Steyn, Mark (April 29, 2018). "I've Heard That Song Before". Steyn Online. Retrieved April 30, 2018.
  5. "Songwriters Jule Styne, Martin Charnin, Charles Strouse, Walter Bishop, Sr." on YouTube
  6. Blau, Eleanor (21 September 1994). "Jule Styne, Bountiful Creator of Song Favorites, Dies at 88". The New York Times .
  7. "Jule Styne: An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center". norman.hrc.utexas.edu. Retrieved 2017-04-27.
  8. Jule Styne at the Songwriters Hall of Fame
  9. "26 Elected to the Theater Hall of Fame; 26 From Broadway Voted into Theater Hall of Fame". The New York Times . 3 March 1981.
  10. Gilliland 1994, tape 1, side A.
  11. "Some Like It Hot: The Musical". Archived from the original on 3 July 2003. Retrieved 30 October 2015.