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Irving Berlin

Berlin, Irving (bərlĭnˈ) [key], 1888–1989, American songwriter, b. Russia. Berlin's surname was originally Baline. Of his nearly 1,000 songs, Alexander's Ragtime Band (1911) was his first outstanding hit. In 1918, while he was in the army, he wrote, produced, and acted in Yip, Yip, Yaphank, which he rewrote in 1942 as This Is the Army. Berlin wrote songs for several of the Ziegfeld Follies and the Music Box Revue (1921–24) as well as the Broadway musicals As Thousands Cheer (1933), Annie Get Your Gun (1946), Miss Liberty (1949), Call Me Madam (1950), and Mr. President (1962). He was the composer of numerous film scores, and several of his stage musicals were filmed. Among his best-known songs are "God Bless America,""Easter Parade,""White Christmas," and "There's No Business Like Show Business."

See C. Hamm, ed., Irving Berlin: Early Songs (1995), and R. Kimball and L. Emmet, ed., The Complete Lyrics of Irvine Berlin (2001); M. E. Barrett, Irving Berlin: A Daughter's Memoir (1994); biographies by M. Freedland (1974), L. Bergreen (1990), and E. Jablonski (1999).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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