Born as Jerome David Kern on January 27, 1885 to Henry and Fannie Kern.
New York City
November 11, 1945 in New York City. He was married to Eva Leale and they have a daughter named Betty Jane. The 1946 film Till the Clouds Roll By was based on the life of Kern.
He received early instruction on the organ and piano from his mother. He went to Newark High School where he began exploring his interest in composing. At first his father wanted him to pursue business, but in 1902 he was finally allowed to attend the New York College of Music where he studied harmony and piano. The following year, he traveled to Heidelberg, Germany to further his studies with private teachers. He then returned to New York in 1905 and wrote songs for Broadway musicals such as The Red Petticoat, They Didn't Believe Me and The Girl From Utah. His early works were adaptations of European operettas. He also collaborated with Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse (British writers) on what is known as the Princess Theater musicals.
Kern's first collaboration with Oscar Hammerstein II was the 1925 musical Sunny. This was followed by their successful musical, Show Boat, an adaptation of a novel by Edna Ferber. Show Boat premiered on December 27, 1927 at the Ziegfeld Theatre. It ran a total of 572 performances. His other collaborations with Hammerstein include Sweet Adeline and Music in the Air. He also worked with fellow composer Otto Harbach in the musicals The Cat and the Fiddle and Roberta. He collaborated with librettist Guy Bolton and playwright Pelham Grenville (P.G.) Wodehouse on several musicals like Oh Boy! and Leave It To Jane. After conquering Broadway, he turned his attention to Hollywood and composed for movie musicals including the film adaptation of Music in the Air.
"Old Man River," "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man," "You Are Love" and "Why Do I Love You?" from the musical Show Boat; "The Song Is You" from Music in the Air; "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" from Roberta and "The Way You Look Tonight" from Swing Time. His other musicals include Very Good Eddie, Oh, Boy! and Sally.
The song "Dearly Beloved" by Jerome Kern and Johnny Mercer was sung by Rita Hayworth in the 1942 film You Were Never Lovelier
. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song that same year. The melody of "The Song is You" was composed by Jerome Kern with lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. It was first performed in the 1932 musical Music in the Air
. The song "Long Ago and Far Away" by Ira Gershwin and Jerome Kern was published in 1944. It was featured in the film Cover Girl
starring Gene Kelly and Rita Hayworth. Other artists who covered this song include Bob Dylan
and Henry Mancini
and his Orchestra.
Jerome Kern was one of the composers who influenced the development of musical theater in America. He collaborated with several prominent lyricists including Oscar Hammerstein II, Ira Gershwin and Dorothy Fields. He won Academy Awards for the musicals Swing Time
and Lady Be Good
. In 1936, Kern's (with Dorothy Fields)“The Way You Look Tonight” from Swing Time
won an Oscar for Best Song. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970. George Gershwin
was influenced by the works of Irving Berlin
and Jerome Kern.
For more information, visit the eNotes page on Jerome Kern
Jerome Kern. In Masterworks Broadway. Retrieved from http://www.masterworksbroadway.com/artist/jerome-kern#featured
Jerome Kern. (2012). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/315465/Jerome-Kern