Freethought of the Day

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There are 1 entries for this date: Frank Loesser
Frank Loesser

Frank Loesser

On this date in 1910, Frank Loesser was born in New York City. Loesser came from a musical family. His father taught classical piano, and his brother, Arthur Loesser, was a concert pianist. Loesser wrote his first song when he was 4 and soon taught himself to play harmonica and piano. He briefly attended the City College of New York but dropped out and turned to various jobs, including newspaper editing. In 1931 he teamed up with William Schuman to write his first lyrics for the song “In Love With a Memory of You.”

Loesser became an accomplished lyricist for such well-known songs as “Moon of Manakoora” (1943), with music by Alfred Newman, “Two Sleepy People” (1938) and “Heart and Soul” (1938), both with music by Hoagy Carmichael. His musical work is just as famous, including such hits as “If I Were a Bell” (1950), “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (1944), “Luck Be A Lady” (1950) and “On a Slow Boat to China” (1948). Loesser contributed scores for many celebrated Broadway musicals, including “Guys and Dolls” (1950), “The Most Happy Fella” (1956) and “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” (1961). He also wrote the score for the film “Hans Christian Andersen” (1952), comprised of songs such as “Wonderful Copenhagen” and “Anywhere I Wander.”

He married twice and had three daughters and a son. In daughter Susan Loesser’s book A Most Remarkable Fella: Frank Loesser and the Guys and Dolls in His Life (1993), she wrote that his family was not religious. His grandparents “were Jewish by blood, but not by thought or deed. No religion was practiced at home.” Loesser’s father, Henry Loesser, “cultivated intellectual, not theological, fields.” Before Loesser died, he wrote that he wanted his body to be disposed of “without benefit of ceremony, [or] religion.” D. 1969.

“What a blessing to know there’s a devil, and that I’m but a pawn in his game / that my impulse to sin doesn’t come from within, and so I’m not exactly to blame.” 

—Frank Loesser (ironically) in “What a Blessing” (1960)

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

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