Dietz: born 8 September 1896, New York City, New York, USA, d. 30
July 1983. Despite attending special schools for pupils of advanced
intelligence, Dietz quit formal education while still in his teens.
He studied journalism at Columbia University, where his classmates
included two other future lyricists, Lorenz Hart and Oscar
Hammerstein II. In 1917 he took a job in advertising, where his most
lasting contribution to American popular visual culture was his
design of a roaring lion logo for a tyro film producer named Samuel
Goldwyn. Dietz had begun to dabble in lyric writing and after
military service during World War I, he directed much of his energy
into this activity. He worked on such Broadway productions as POPPY
(1923) and DEAR SIR (1924). Despite the latter having music by
Jerome Kern, it was a flop; but Dietz persisted and soon afterwards
was introduced to Arthur Schwartz, who suggested that they should
work together. Dietz demurred, feeling that he was not up to
Schwartz's standard. In any event, Dietz had been offered an
important job with a new film production company that Samuel Goldwyn
had formed, following a merger with Louis B. Mayer. Dietz became
publicity and advertising director for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, later
rising to vice-president. Soon after his appointment, Dietz met
Schwartz again and thus began one of the great partnerships of
American popular music.
Over the next dozen years Dietz and Schwartz wrote the scores for several Broadway musicals and revues, such as The Little Show (1929), GRAND STREET FOLLIES, Three's A Crowd, THE SECOND LITTLE SHOW, The Band Wagon, Flying Colors, REVENGE WITH MUSIC, At Home Abroad, BETWEEN THE DEVIL, and Inside USA. The shows contained a string of memorable songs, including I Guess I'll Have To Change My Plan, Something To Remember You By, The Moment I Saw You, I Love Louisa, New Sun In The Sky, Louisiana Hayride, A Shine On Your Shoes, Alone Together, You And The Night And The Music, If There Is Someone Lovelier Than You, Got A Bran New Suití, Love Is A Dancing Thing, I See Your Face Before Me, Triplets, and Rhode Island Is Famous For You. Their greatest song of this period, which Dietz used as the title of his 1974 autobiography, was Dancing In The Dark. After 1936 Schwartz worked with other collaborators while Dietz concentrated on his work with MGM. In the early '40s Dietz returned to songwriting, this time with Vernon Duke, in a succession of stage productions, most of which were relative failures. Towards the end of the '40s he again teamed up with Schwartz on a stage show and on films, one of their new hits being That's Entertainment, written for the 1953 film THE BAND WAGON. Their renewed partnership was not as successful as that of the past, although the calibre of Dietz's writing always remained high. In the '50s he wrote the libretto and new English lyrics for the New York Metropolitan Opera productions of DIE FLEDERMAUS and LA BOHEME. In 1954 Dietz became seriously ill with Parkinson's disease and, although he lived for nearly 30 more years, his songwriting days were over.
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