George David Weiss ( born April 9, 1921 ) is an American songwriter and President of the Songwriters Guild of America.
He was born in New York, New York to a Jewish family. He originally planned a career as a lawyer or accountant, but out of a love for music he was led to attend the Julliard School of Music, developing his skills in writing and arranging. After leaving school, he became an arranger for such big bands as those of Stan Kenton, Vincent Lopez, and Johnny Richards.
In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, he was a very prolific songwriter, with many of his songs reaching high places on the charts. Although he worked with many collaborators, the largest proportion of his well-known songs were written with Bennie Benjamin.
Weiss contributed to a number of movie scores: Murder, Inc. (1960), Gidget Goes to Rome (1953), Mediterranean Holiday (1964), and Mademoiselle (1966).
Collaborations on three Broadway musicals were among his compositions. Mr. Wonderful was written in 1956 with Jerry Bock and Larry Holofcener. The Broadway production starred Sammy Davis, Jr. First Impressions was based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It was written in 1959, with Robert Goldman and Glenn Paxton. Maggie Flynn was written in 1968, with Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore. It was set in New York during the Civil War, and the Broadway production starred Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy. In addition, Weiss and Will Severin composed the family musical, A Tale of Cinderella, which was first presented in December 1994 at the Theater Institute in Troy, New York and filmed for presentation on PBS.
He was inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1984.
In 2006 a court settlement was reached regarding royalties for the worldwide rights of the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" which was based on a 1939 song by Solomon Linda.
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