Sammy Cahn

Active - 1940 - 1978  |   Born - Jun 18, 1913   |   Died - Jan 15, 1993   |   Genres - Comedy, Musical, Drama, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

American composer Sammy Cahn was one of the last of the "tin pan alley" school of tunesmiths. After five years of churning out specialty numbers and nightclub material, Cahn wrote his first film score for the 1940 Andrews Sisters/Ritz Brothers vehicle Argentine Nights. Inasmuch as the songs in this picture contained such lyrics as "Amigo we go riding tonight," Cahn had nowhere to go but up. His first big hit, "I've Heard That Song Before," was featured in the B-plus musical Youth on Parade (1942). In 1947's It Happened in Brooklyn, Cahn wrote for Frank Sinatra for the first time. It was a professional "marriage" which would result in one top-ten success after another for Sinatra over the next three decades: "Time After Time," "All the Way," "High Hopes," "The Second Time Around," "Call Me Irresponsible," "My Kind of Town" and many more. While several of these songs were not written with Sinatra in mind ("Call Me Irresponsible" was sung by Jackie Gleason in Papa's Delicate Condition [1963]), it was Ol' Blue Eyes' interpretations that made them famous. Working most often in collaboration with Jule Styne and Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn wrote for both Hollywood and Broadway during his long career: his best remembered theatrical show was Mary Martin's Peter Pan (1953) ("I Gotta Crow," "I'm Flying," etc.). Nominated 30 times for the Academy Award, Cahn took home the gold-plated statuette on four occasions. In his last two decades, Sammy Cahn showed up frequently on TV and in live concerts; an ingratiating ham, Cahn could go on all night and into the next day with his "And then I wrote..." routine.

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