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Honored with SHOF’s highest accolade, the Johnny Mercer Award, in 1985


Alan Jay Lerner's lyrics were marked by warmth and civilized urbanity, coupled with the highest order of craftsmanship. He was bom in New York on August 31, 1918 into a wealthy Manhattan family, the owners of Lerner Stores, Inc. He attended school at Bedales School in England and then Choate in Connecticut. During the summers of 1936 and 1937, he attended the Juilliard School of Music, and then graduated from Harvard College, where Leonard Bernstein was a contemporary. At Harvard he began his career in musical theater, writing for the Hasty Pudding shows. Early in his career, both Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein served as mentors.

In 1942, he met composer Frederick Loewe at the Lambs Club in New York City, beginning one of the great collaborations of the American musical theater. From the start of their partnership, Lerner wrote the books of the shows as well as the lyrics. Their first shows together, The Life of the Party (1942) and What's Up? (1943) were complete failures. Their next, The Day Before Spring (1945) did slightly better, running for five months, and included the song "You Haven't Changed At All".

In 1947 they had their first great bit, Brigadoon, which included “The Heather on the Hill”, "From This Day On", and the classic romantic ballad "Almost Like Being In Love". In.1951 came Paint Your Wagon, which included such songs as "They Call The Wind Maria", "I Talk To The Trees" and "Wandrin' Star".

Then in 1956, My Fair Lady appeared, and theater history changed. Adapted by Lerner from George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalian, if the…

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Discography Highlights

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