ERIC MASCHWITZ (1901 - 1969)
Actor, Writer, Lyricist, Producer
Eric Maschwitz was an Englishman who worked in many areas of show business. He not only appeared on the stage but he wrote books for several musicals and adapted French comedies for the English stage. He joined the BBC in 1926 as Director of Variety where he created several popular shows. Under the pseudonym of Holt Marvell he and BBC producer Val Gielgud (brother of actor Sir John) wrote thrillers and adapted them for broadcasting.
He collaborated with composer George Posford on several stage shows, and At the Balalaika’s title cut was number three on the hit parade at the same time as “A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square,” his 1940 collaboration with Jack Strachey and Manning Sherwin. “He Wears a Pair of Silver Wings” with Michael Carr made the Hit Parade in 1942, but Maschwitz’s biggest hit (also as Holt Marvell) was “These Foolish Things” (1936) with Strachey and Harry Link.
In 1939 he wrote screenplays in Hollywood, most famously Goodbye, Mr. Chips. He returned to England later that year to serve in the Army Intelligence Corps. In 1947 George Melachrino scored the revue, Starlight Roof, with book and lyrics by Maschwitz and Matt Brooks, which introduced Julie Andrews to the stage. In 1958 he rejoined the BBC as Head of Light Entertainment, creating shows to appeal to a younger generation. He left in 1963 to join Britain’s Independent Television Network.
Maschwitz’s show business successes enabled him to dedicate energy to working with amateur groups, helping them to stage both his musicals and the works of other writers. With Bernard Grun he even staged operas such as Die Fledermaus for amateur companies.
-- Sandra Burlingame
Courtesy of JazzStandards.com