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(1906 - 1968)

Composer, Choreographer

Morgan Lewis graduated from Michigan University and went into show business, working as a composer and choreographer. He contributed “You Might As Well Pretend” to the third “Little Show” (1931) by Arthur Schwartz and Howard Dietz, and he collaborated with E.Y. “Yip” Harburg on “’Cause You Won’t Play House” (1934). He directed the dances for Idiot’s Delight (1936), staged the musical numbers for The Fireman’s Flame (1937), and directed Naughty Naught ’00 (1937 and 1939).

His first collaboration as a composer with lyricist Nancy Hamilton was on New Faces of 1934. They went on to produce three Broadway revues — One for the Money (1939), Two for the Show (1940), and Three to Make Ready (1946). Their songs--“On the Other Hand,” “If It’s Love,” “The Old Soft Shoe,” “At Long Last It’s Love,” “A Lovely, Lazy Kind of Day,” and “It’s a Nice Night for It”--enjoyed modest success, but their claim to fame would be “How High the Moon” from Two for the Show. In 1997 the song received the Towering Song Award from the National Academy of Popular Music/Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Lewis scored Hamilton’s film of the life of Helen Keller, The Unconquered, which won the 1955 Academy Award for best documentary, and in 1969 he scored The Madwoman of Chaillot.

-- Sandra Burlingame

Courtesy of JazzStandards.com

Role: Non-Classical Composer 
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