|Born||July 4, 1895|
New York City, U.S
|Died||December 18, 1996 (aged 101)|
New York City
Irving Caesar (born Isidor Keiser, July 4, 1895 – December 18, 1996) was an American lyricist and theater composer, who wrote lyrics for numerous song standards including "Swanee", "Sometimes I'm Happy", "Crazy Rhythm", and "Tea for Two", one of the most frequently recorded tunes ever written. In 1972, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Caesar, the son of Morris Keiser, a Romanian Jew, was born in New York City, United States. His older brother Arthur Caesar was a successful Hollywood screenwriter. The Caesar brothers spent their childhood and teen years in Yorkville, the same Manhattan neighborhood where the Marx Brothers were raised. Caesar knew the Marx Brothers during his childhood. He was educated at Chappaqua Mountain Institute in Chappaqua, New York.
In his career Caesar collaborated with a wide variety of composers and songwriters, including Rudolf Friml, George Gershwin, Sigmund Romberg, Victor Herbert, Ted Koehler and Ray Henderson. Two of his best known numbers, I Want to Be Happy and Tea for Two, were written with Vincent Youmans for the 1925 musical No, No, Nanette. Another of his biggest hits, Animal Crackers in My Soup, was popularized by Shirley Temple in her 1935 film Curly Top. "Just a Gigolo", his 1929 adaptation of an Austrian song, was a hit for Louis Prima in the 1950s and again for David Lee Roth in the 1980s.
In the late 1930s, he and composer Gerald Marks wrote a famous series of children's songs focusing on safety. Caesar made hundreds of appearances in schools performing the "Sing a Song of Safety," "Sing a Song of Friendship" (a United Nations-inspired series focusing on world peace, racial tolerance and friendship) and "Songs of Health" collections.
Caesar served on the songwriters' performance-rights organization ASCAP board of directors from 1930 to 1946 and again from 1949 to 1966. He was a founder of the Songwriters Guild of America. He died aged 101, in New York on December 18, 1996.
Note: All productions are musicals unless otherwise stated.