Name at birth: Richard Charles Rodgers
Richard Rogers was one of the most successful and celebrated composers of the 20th century. His partnerships with lyricists Lorenz Hart (1895-1943) and Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960) resulted in dozens of hit musicals for the stage and screen, from Babes in Arms to The Sound of Music. A published songwriter by the age of 17, Rodgers and Hart began collaborating in the 1920s. Between 1920 and 1943 they wrote dozens of musicals for the New York stage and Hollywood movies, including The Boys of Syracuse and Pal Joey. In 1943 Rodgers teamed with Oscar Hammerstein II to write Oklahoma!, a box office smash and a landmark in the history of musical theater. Rodgers and Hammerstein went on to write and produce hit musicals such as Carousel, State Fair, The King and I and The Sound of Music, all of which were adapted for the movies. After Hammerstein's death in 1960, Rodgers continued composing, sometimes writing his own lyrics. Rodgers was known for his catchy melodies and ability to incorporate other musical styles into popular tunes. Some of his songs, such as "My Funny Valentine" and "The Lady is a Tramp" have become jazz standards.
Rodgers also composed for television, winning an Emmy for the music of the documentary series Victory at Sea (1952).