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Dietz, Howard locked

  • Gerald Bordman
  • , revised by Jonas Westover

(b New York, NY, Sept 8, 1896; d New York, NY, July 30, 1983). American lyricist and librettist. He studied at Columbia University, where he was a contemporary of Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II, and served in the US Navy before becoming director of publicity and advertising in 1919 for the Goldwyn Pictures Corporation (from 1924 known as Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer or MGM). He wrote verse in his spare time, and was asked by Jerome Kern to supply the lyrics for Dear Sir (1924). He also worked with Vernon Duke, Jimmy McHugh, and Ralph Rainger. But he is best remembered for the numerous songs he wrote in collaboration with arthur Schwartz , beginning in 1929 with the revue The Little Show (with “I guess I’ll have to change my plan”). Other collaborations with Schwartz include Three’s a Crowd (1930) and The Band Wagon (1931, containing the hit “Dancing in the Dark”). Their professional relationship extended over a period of more than 30 years to the production of the musical Jennie (1963). One of his greatest hits was “Moanin’ low,” (1932) performed by Libby Holman. Dietz also directed some of the shows for which he wrote. His lyrics, which populated some of the most admired revues of the 1930s, were praised for their urbanity and wit. He wrote an autobiography, Dancing in the Dark (New York, 1974).

Bibliography

  • T.S. Hischak: “Howard Dietz,” American Song Lyricists, 1920–1960, ed. P. Furia (Detroit, 2002), 100–8
  • D.A. Jasen: Tin Pan Alley: an Encyclopedia of the Golden Age of American Song (New York, 2003)