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Lew Fields
Birth: Jan. 1, 1867
New York
New York County (Manhattan)
New York, USA
Death: Jul. 20, 1941
Beverly Hills
Los Angeles County
California, USA

Comedian, Theatrical Producer and Director. He was generally regarded as the artistically creative member of Weber and Fields, a 19th century comedy team that revolutionized the 20th century musical theater with their productions. In 1877, Lew teamed with his Bowery, New York friend, Joe Weber, to develop a knockabout comedy act to play the local saloons. Both were nine years old. They based their characters, Mike and Meyer, on caricatures of the Dutch German immigrants they saw on the streets in their neighborhood. In 1889, they launched "Weber and Fields Own Company," which featured an all-star cast of comedians, singers and dancers. Lew was known as being very straitlaced, made a successful marriage that lasted his lifetime, marrying Rose Harris on January 1, 1893. Coincidentally, the date marked his 26th birthday. The couple had four children, all of whom Lew strenuously warned away from show business. Fortunately for him, they didn't listen. During the 1890s, the team ensured repeat business each season by offering a variety of parodies, then called "burlesques," of popular dramatic plays then on Broadway. The team also acquired their own theater on Broadway they named "The Weber and Fields Music Hall" and the company eventually included such major stars as Lillian Russell and Fay Templeton. By the turn of the 20th century, Lew Fields' creative talents spurred him to move beyond the old Music Hall format of dialect Dutch-German humor and parodies, and friction developed with his partner. The team gave a tearful farewell performance in May 1904. Weber continued producing and appearing in Weberfields-type shows at the Music Hall, while Fields partnered with the Shubert brothers to produce an original type of musical theater. His shows, such as "Old Dutch" and "The Henpecks," among many others, were critically acclaimed but often left Fields in financial straits. In 1912, Fields suggested reuniting with Weber for a national "Jubilee" tour that was incredibly successful tour and reunited most of the old Weberfields company including Russell and Templeton. Thereafter, Joe and Lew re-teamed about every other year for a whirlwind tour often lasting only a month or two, made films and records, while Lew continued with his solo productions. He had a good eye for developing talent and hired a teen-aged Helen Hayes, Vernon Castle, and later James Cagney, among others. By the late 1920s, the public's taste in musical theater had changed but Fields remained in front ranks of successful producers thanks to the topical scripts written by three of his children, Herbert, Joseph and Dorothy. They also brought on board two unknown song writers, Rogers and Hart. The coming of the Great Depression ended Lew's theater career but the team worked in radio and made their final stage appearance in 1932 to mark the opening of Radio City Music Hall. Fields retired to Hollywood in the late 1930s, and Joe Weber soon followed him. They made a wonderful farewell appearance in the 1940 film, "Lillian Russell." Adroitly playing themselves and their characters of Mike and Meyer, their sequence was regarded by many critics as the best scene in the film.

 (bio by: Robert Fells) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Rose Harris Fields (1875 - 1948)*
 
 Children:
  Dorothy Fields (1905 - 1974)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum
Hartsdale
Westchester County
New York, USA
Plot: Ferncliff Mausoleum, Unit 4, Columbarium 2, Alcove D, Column E, Niche 5
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Jan 01, 2001
Find A Grave Memorial# 335
Lew Fields
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Lew Fields
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Lew Fields
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