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 Ira Gershwin

Ira Gershwin

Birth
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 17 Aug 1983 (aged 86)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York, USA
Plot George Gershwin Mausoleum near the office
Memorial ID 1684 · View Source
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Lyrical composer, best remembered for his compositions with his equally talented younger brother, George Gershwin. They are responsible for such hit songs as "Someone to Watch over Me" (1926), "Love Walked In" (1937), "Love is Here to Stay" (1937), "Rhapsody in Blue" (1924), and for such musicals as "Of Thee I sing" (1931 - the first musical to ever win a Pulitzer Prize), and "Porgy and Bess" (1935). Born in New York City to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents, he was trained on the piano early by his mother, who felt music was important to a growing child. While attending the City College of New York, he began writing verse and short poetry bits to the various newspapers. After college, while working as a desk attendant in a Turkish Bath, he began a tentative collaboration with his brother, George, and their first song together, "The Real American Folk Song is a Rag"(1919) was heard in Nora Bayes' "Ladies First" (1919). For a while, Ira used the pseudonym of Arthur Francis, combining the first names of his brother, Arthur, and sister, Frances. Under this pen name, he supplied lyrics for the Broadway show "Two Little Girls in Blue" (1921). By 1924, he began a successful collaboration with his brother, George, and dropped the use of his nom de plume. After George's death in 1937, Ira continued to collaborate with such composers as Harold Arlen, Vernon Duke, Kurt Weil, Jerome Kern, and Harry Warren. For his achievements in film scoring, Ira Gershwin was nominated three times for Academy Award Oscars, for the songs "They Can't Take That Away From Me", "Long Ago and Far Away," "and "The Man That Got Away." In 1966, he received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Maryland. In 1992, a Tony Award for best musical was given to "Crazy For You" (1992), which Ira had written the lyrics for. Ira continuously watched over the Gershwin legacy by donating manuscripts and materials that he and his brother, George, had collaborated on to the Library of Congress, to become part of the American Heritage. Ira Gershwin would die in his sleep in 1983 at his home in Beverly Hills, California, the home that he shared with his wife of 56 years, Leonore. In 1973, the US Postal Service honored the Gershwins with an 8-cent postage stamp in the American Art series. In 1985, Congress awarded a Congressional Gold Medal to the Gershwin brothers, to honor their contribution to the American Spirit. In 1998, the men won a posthumous special Pulitzer Prize, which was awarded on the centennial of his brother's birth.

Bio by: Kit and Morgan Benson


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1684
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Ira Gershwin (6 Dec 1896–17 Aug 1983), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1684, citing Westchester Hills Cemetery, Hastings-on-Hudson, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .