Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin
Los Angeles Times

Stars

Irving Berlin
Music: North side of the 7100 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Composer
Born Israel Baline on May 11, 1888 in Tyumen, Russian Federation
Died Sept. 22, 1989 in Manhattan, NY

Irving Berlin was the most prolific and enduring composer of the last century.

Berlin's life works included such American classics as "God Bless America," and "White Christmas," and such lasting tunes as "Easter Parade," "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning." He outlived the copyright on "Alexander's Ragtime Band" 75 years after he wrote it.

Among his many popular hits from musicals were "Cheek to Cheek," "Marie" and "Blue Skies." He wrote the scores for the 1925 Marx Brothers show "The Coconuts, and the Broadway hit "Annie Get Your Gun." His last Broadway show was "Mr. President" in 1962.

In Hollywood, Berlin did the scores of "Top Hat," starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and "Holiday Inn" with Astaire and Bing Crosby.

He was nearly smothered with honors: a gold medal from the president for his patriotic songs, another from the Army for his two service shows, a special Tony award for his contributions to the stage, the French Legion of Honor. In 1987 Berlin was the only recipient of the annual Kennedy Center Honors not to attend the ceremony.

In 1988, on the occasion of his 100th birthday, 25 stars, 32 dancers and a 31-piece orchestra saluted him in a televised celebration at Carnegie Hall. But Berlin, whom a biographer declared "next to Greta Garbo the most famous recluse in show business," stayed at his Beekman Place townhouse with his beloved wife.

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1935 Best Song "Cheek to Cheek" from Top Hat Nomination
    1938 Best Original Story Alexander's Ragtime Band Nomination
    1938 Best Song "Change Partners" from Carefree Nomination
    1938 Best Song "Now It Can Be Told" from Alexander's Ragtime Band Nomination
    1939 Best Song "I Poured My Heart into a Song" from Second Fiddle Nomination
    1942 Best Original Story Holiday Inn Nomination
    1942 Best Song "White Christmas" from Holiday Inn Win
    1946 Best Song "You Keep Coming Back Like a Song" from Blue Skies Nomination
    1954 Best Song "Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep" from White Christmas Nomination

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