Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Oscar Levant

Oscar Levant (December 27, 1906 – August 14, 1972) was an pianist, composer, author, comedian, and actor. He studied under Zygmunt Stojowski, a piano pedagogue. In 1924, aged 18, he appeared with Ben Bernie in a short film, Ben Bernie and All the Lads.

In 1928, Levant moved to Hollywood where he met and befriended George Gershwin. From 1929 to 1948 he composed the music for more than twenty movies. During this period, he also wrote the well known song,"Blame It on My Youth" (1934).

Levant married his second wife, singer and actress June Gale, part of the The Gale Sisters. They were married for almost 33 years, until his death.

The role of Cosmo Brown in Singin' in the Rain (1952) was written with him in mind, but the part went instead to, Donald O'Connor.


Ben Bernie and All the Lads (1924)
The Dance of Life (1929)
Night Parade (1929) (uncredited)
In Person (1935)
Rhythm on the River (1940). Musical comedy film starring Bing Crosby and Mary Martin as a ghostwriters whose songs are credited to a composer played by Basil Rathbone. James V. Monaco (music) and Johnny Burke (lyrics) were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song for, "Only Forever". The song in the video:
"That's for Me"
Music by James V. Monaco
Lyrics by Johnny Burke
Sung by Mary Martin
Also sung by Lillian Cornell

Kiss the Boys Goodbye (1941)
Rhapsody in Blue (1945)
Humoresque (1946)
Romance on the High Seas (1948)
You Were Meant for Me
The Barkleys of Broadway (1949)
An American in Paris (1951)
O. Henry's Full House (1952)
The I Don't Care Girl (1953)
The Band Wagon (1953)
The Cobweb (1955)
The Oscar Levant Show (1958)

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