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Berlin, Irving definitions

Britannica Concise

U.S. songwriter. He was born to the family of a Russian Jewish cantor that emigrated to New York in 1893. With only two years of formal education, he worked as a street singer and singing waiter. His first published song, "Marie from Sunny Italy," appeared in 1907; a printer's error named him Irving Berlin. Unable to read or write music, he learned and played by ear. In 1911 he wrote the great hit of Tin Pan Alley's ragtime vogue, "Alexander's Ragtime Band." In 1919 he founded the publishing house Irving Berlin Music Corp. He may have written more than 1,500 songs, incl. "Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning," "Always," "Cheek to Cheek," "Puttin' on the Ritz," and "God Bless America." His film scores include Top Hat (1935), Easter Parade (1948), and White Christmas (1954); his score for Holiday Inn (1942) introduced "White Christmas," one of the best-selling songs of all time. Altogether Berlin wrote the scores for 19 Broadway shows (incl. Annie Get Your Gun, 1946, and Call Me Madam, 1950) and 18 films. He died at 101.

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