|Birth name||Julius Kerwin Stein|
|Born||December 31, 1905|
|Died||September 20, 1994 (aged 88)|
Manhattan, New York, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Song writer, composer|
Jule Styne (/ /; born Julius Kerwin Stein, December 31, 1905 – September 20, 1994) was a British-American song writer and composer known for a series of Broadway musicals, which include several famous and frequently revived shows which also became successful films, including Gypsy, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and Funny Girl.
Styne was born to a Jewish family in London, England, to Anna Kertman and Isadore Stein, emigrants from Ukraine, the Russian Empire who ran a small grocery. Even before his family left Britain, he did impressions on the stage of well-known singers, including Harry Lauder who saw him perform and advised him to take up the piano. At the age of eight, he moved with his family to Chicago, where at an early age he began taking piano lessons. He proved to be a prodigy and performed with the Chicago, St. Louis, and Detroit Symphonies before he was ten years old.
Styne attended Chicago Musical College, but before then, he had already attracted attention of another teenager, Mike Todd, later a successful film producer, who commissioned him to write a song for a musical act that he was creating. It was the first of over 1,500 published songs Styne composed in his career. His first hit, "Sunday", was written in 1926. In 1929, Styne was playing with the Ben Pollack band.
Styne was a vocal coach for 20th Century Fox, until Darryl F. Zanuck fired him because vocal coaching was "a luxury, and we're cutting out those luxuries", and told him he should write songs, because "that's forever". Styne established his own dance band, which brought him to the notice of Hollywood, where he was championed by Frank Sinatra and where he began a collaboration with lyricist Sammy Cahn. He and Cahn wrote many songs for the movies, including "It's Been a Long, Long Time" (No. 1 for three weeks for Harry James and His Orchestra in 1945), "Five Minutes More," and the Oscar-winning title song for Three Coins in the Fountain (1954). He collaborated on the score for the 1955 musical film My Sister Eileen with Leo Robin. Ten of his songs were nominated for the Oscar, many written with Cahn, including "I've Heard That Song Before" (No. 1 for 13 weeks for Harry James and His Orchestra in 1943), "I'll Walk Alone", "It's Magic" (a No. 2 hit for Doris Day in 1948), and "I Fall In Love Too Easily".
In 1947, Styne wrote his first score for a Broadway musical, High Button Shoes, with Cahn, and over the next several decades wrote the scores for many Broadway shows, most notably Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Peter Pan (additional music), Bells Are Ringing, Gypsy, Do Re Mi, Funny Girl, Lorelei, Sugar (with a story based on the movie Some Like It Hot, but all new music), and the Tony-winning Hallelujah, Baby!.
Styne died of heart failure in New York City at the age of 88. His archive – including original hand-written compositions, letters, and production materials – is housed at the Harry Ransom Center.
Styne was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972 and the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981, and he was a recipient of a Drama Desk Special Award and the Kennedy Center Honors in 1990. Additionally, Styne won the 1955 Oscar for Best Music, Original Song for "Three Coins in the Fountain", and "Hallelujah, Baby!" won the 1968 Tony Award for Best Original Score.
A selection of the many songs that Styne wrote: