Composer and lyricist for top Broadway hits, film music and pop hits including "What A Wonderful World"
Long-serving President of Songwriter Guild of America was passionate about songwriters rights
George David Weiss was born on April 9, 1921 in New York, New York.Weiss originally planned a career as a lawyer or accountant, but his love for music led him to the Julliard School of Music where he honed his skills in writing and arranging. This experience led to writing arrangements for Stan Kenton, Vincent Lopez and Johnny Richards.
Weiss went on to write some of the most popular pop songs of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s.He worked with many collaborators, but a large number of his well-known songs were written with Bennie Benjamin.Some of their songs, the years they were first recorded and the performers who are most closely associated with them, include "Rumors Are Flying" (1946, Frankie Carle, Les Paul), "Surrender" (1946, Perry Como), "Confess" (1948, Patti Page), "I Don't See Me In Your Eyes Anymore" (1949, Gordon Jenkins), "Can Anyone Explain? (No! No! No!)" (1950, The Ames Brothers, Ray Anthony), "Echoes" (1950, Jo Stafford and Gordon MacRae), "I'll Never Be Free" (1950, Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Jordan, Kay Starr), "To Think You've Chosen Me" (1950, Eddy Howard), "I Ran All the Way Home" (1951, Sarah Vaughan), "Jet" (1951, Nat "King" Cole), "Wheel of Fortune" (1952, Kay Starr), "Cross Over the Bridge" (1954, Patti Page), and "How Important Can It Be?" (1955, Joni James).
Weiss also had successful song hits with other composers. That list includes "Lullaby of Birdland" (1952, with George Shearing), "Can't Help Falling In Love" (1961, with Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore, recorded by Elvis Presley), "What A Wonderful World" (1967, with Bob Thiele, recorded by Louis Armstrong), "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" (1961, with Peretti and Creatore, recorded by the Tokens), and "That Sunday, That Summer" (1963, with Joe Sherman, recorded by Nat "King" Cole). Weiss' movie scores include Murder, Inc. (1960), Gidget Goes to Rome (1963), Mediterranean Holiday (1964), and Mademoiselle (1966).
Weiss collaborated on three Broadway musicals. The first, Mr. Wonderful (1956, with Jerry Bock and Larry Holofcener), starred Sammy Davis, Jr. and featured the title song as well as "Too Close For Comfort."The others were First Impressions, based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (1959, with Robert Goldman and Glenn Paxton), and Maggie Flynn (1968, with Peretti and Creatore), set in New York during the Civil War, which starred Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy.Weiss and Will Severin composed the family musical, A Tale of Cinderella, which premiered in December 1994 at the Theater Institute in Troy, New York and filmed for presentation on PBS.
Weiss has been president of the Songwriters Guild of America for many years.