Born December 31, 1905, London, England
Died September 20, 1994, New York City
With the scores of such Broadway classics as Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Peter Pan, Bells Are Ringing, Gypsy and Funny Girl to his credit, composer Jule Styne ranks as one of the undisputed architects of the American musical theater. Although he was born in London's East End, Styne's family moved to the United States in 1912.
Young Julius showed such a talent for the piano that he had performed with the Chicago, St. Louis, and Detroit Symphonies by age 10.
He developed his feel for popular music working with the jazz bands of 1920s Chicago, and as vocal coach to such 1930s Hollywood stars as Shirley Temple and Alice Faye.
Teaming with lyricist Sammy Cahn in the 1940s, he created a string of Hit Parade leaders including the Oscar-winning "Three Coins In The Fountain."
In addition to Sammy Cahn, Styne's collaborators include Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Stephen Sondheim, Bob Merrill, Leo Robin and E.Y. Harburg, and their combined efforts have produced such showstoppers as "The Party's Over," "Everything's Coming Up Roses," "People" and "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend."
Jule Styne was elected to the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972, the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1981, and became a Kennedy Center Honoree in 1990. On the occasion of his 25th anniversary in show business, the following tribute was read into the Congressional Record: "The lives of Americans throughout our land, as well as the lives of people throughout the corners of the world, have been enriched by the artistry and genius of Jule Styne."
Jule Styne is simply the best there is at what he does - his song list reads like the history of American popular music.
I've had the pleasure and privilege of expressing his marvelous melodies in many memorable films as well as the finest saloons around the world! Songs like "People," "Never Never Land," "Just In Time," "The Party's Over," "Three Coins In The Fountain," and my wife's favorite, "Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend," are quite simply, timeless.
There's only one Jule Styne, and I love him.
He calls himself Peter Pan. He must be right because he's never grown up enough to forget where dreams are born. I'm glad.
Is it that many years since "People"? Jule gave me the song to sing and it rang chords all over the world. I may never stop singing it, appreciating it and loving the man who wrote it. Thank you Jule, from a most grateful friend.
The best popular songs in the world come from the U.S.A., and Jule Styne stands in that select hall of geniuses who know how to write them.
Jule Styne gave me my first job, and I've been learning from him ever since!! Nobody Does It Better!
There is a place where dreams are born and time is never planned - it is wherever you are, Jule.
One of the greatest pleasures I have experienced during the last several decades had been the opportunity to sing so many of the attractive melodies fashioned by Jule Styne. If anyone has captured the true spirit of what the American popular song is all about, it is most certainly my old friend, Jule. For his brilliant score Gypsy, he ought to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and yet when you examine his body of work over the years, you come to realize that Gypsy is merely one of the many delights this extraordinary composer has given to the world. Whether collaborating with the likes of Stephen Sondheim, Sammy Cahn or, for that matter, any other lyricist, his adaptability and versatility mark him as a unique talent within the ranks of the genuinely great writers of popular melodies. I am proud to be a part of this tribute to Jule...
Aside from all the beautiful melodies, inventive harmonies, and creative ideas that you have so willingly given to all of us, what you have brought to this business is heart, honesty, candor and a sense of humor that is matched by no one. To put it plainly, from one piano player to another... you're the top.
One of my fondest memories was when you invited me to your apartment to learn the score of "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" before my contract was even signed... you wanted that badly for me to be in your great musical. At the time, I was one of twenty unknowns in a little revue called "Lend An Ear." So, you and I had to work late into the night at the piano in your garden apartment. Along about 2:00 a.m., at every rehearsal, the neighbors would yell, "Shut up!" interspersed with other unmentionable phrases, as well as throw beer bottles down onto the brick-paved garden. We stayed quiet for as long as we could (maybe about two minutes), but then would get carried away again.
Finally, the powers that be evicted you, but only after that magnificent score was completely written, and I had it memorized.
It was euphoria for me. As I say... one of my happiest times in the theater!
It was always great working with you, and a lot of fun besides,
Jule Styne has given me more joy of listening and learning over the greater part of my life than I can really convey to anyone. One song that I cannot seem to remove from my act is "People," which I think is one of the most inspirational and beautifully written songs ever. When I introduce the song in my act I say: "This song was written by my manager's father." The audience, being afraid I am going to sing some obscure song pushed on me by my manager because his relative wrote it, prepares to endure my choice of material, not knowing that Norty Styne is my manager and Jule is his father.
Jule has also been extremely helpful to me over the years with great encouragement and great advice, and I will always be grateful to him.
Thank you Jule - for perfect notes to sing that have given me so much satisfaction.