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On This Day in History, February 19: Oscar-Winning Songwriter Born in Brooklyn


Saul Chaplin was born in Brooklyn on Feb. 19, 1912. He was educated at New York University School of Commerce. He played in dance bands and co-led a band in the mid-1930s with lyricist Sammy Cahn.

With Cahn as his lyricist he wrote such song hits as “Shoe Shine Boy,” “Until the Real Thing Comes Along,” “Bei Mir Bist du Shön,” “Please Be Kind” and “The Anniversary Song.”

In 1941 Chaplin began a career on the Hollywood scene. He scored the movies Cover Girl (’44), The Jolson Story (’46), On the Town (’49), Summer Stock (’50), An American in Paris (’51, a scene from which is pictured above), Kiss Me Kate (’53), High Society (’56), Teahouse of the August Moon (’56), Merry Andrew (’58) and West Side Story (’61).

During his career, he won four Oscars for his work on An American in Paris, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (’54) and West Side Story.

He was an associate producer of the films Can Can (’59) and The Sound of Music (’65), and producer of The Star (’67).

 He published an autobiography in 1994, The Golden Age of Movie Musicals and Me.

 He died in 1997 from injuries following a bad fall.

— Vernon Parker

February 17, 2012 - 5:02pm


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