"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Irving Berlin

This 1925 portrait of Irving Berlin (1888-1989) by Miguel Covarrubias hangs in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
"The dean of American popular song, composer-lyricist Irving Berlin wrote more than 3,000 songs, including 'God Bless America' and 'White Christmas.' Arriving in New York City as a child, he worked to survive after his father died, selling newspapers, waiting tables, and plugging songs. Berlin's first hit song, 'Alexander's Ragtime Band,' became the rage in 1911; three years later, his first musical, Watch Your Step, cemented his reputation. He wrote twenty­one Broadway scores, including Annie Get Your Gun (1946), which featured Ethel Merman singing 'There's No Business Like Show Business.' Berlin also wrote seventeen film scores, including Top Hat (1935), Holiday Inn (1947), and Easter Parade (1948).

Mexican caricaturist Miguel Covarrubias, who worked in New York between 1924 and 1932, depicted Berlin with five other popular culture headliners for the March 1925 issue of Vanity Fair: heavyweight champion Jack Dempsey, movie star Gloria Swanson, playwright Eugene O'Neill, Broadway star Florence Mills, and stage designer Robert Edmond Jones." -- National Portrait Gallery
To hear (or download) a compilation of  Irving Berlin songs by various artists at Internet Archive, chick here.

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