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Billy Rose

William Samuel Rosenberg

Composer, Lyricist, Nightclub Owner, Theater Owner, Film Producer, Broadway Producer, Columnist

(1899 - 1966)

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Big Bands Database


"Jumbo" at wikipedia.org
"Aquacade" at answers.com


Collection at nypl.org
On Broadway at ibdb.com
Billy Rose was not only a successful nightclub owner (Diamond Horsehoe) but enjoyed a career on Broadway as a songwriter, producer, and theater owner. During the 1920’s he collaborated on the novelty songs “You Tell Her I Stutter” and “Does the Spearmint Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?” also enjoying a hit with “Me and My Shadow,” and “Clap Hands Here Comes Charley.” 1929’s Great Day! with Edward Eliscu and Vincent Youmans produced “More Than You Know” and ”Without a Song.” That same year he married Fanny Brice who starred in Sweet and Low (later Crazy Quilt) which featured “I Found a Million Dollar Baby.” “It’s Only a Paper Moon,” written in 1933 with Yip Harburg and Harold Arlen, has been favored as both a popular song and a jazz standard.

While Rose has been described as small in stature he more than made up for it in largesse of ego and bravado. His nickname “The Little Napoleon of Showmanship” was well earned, and while his co-writers would sometimes dispute his contribution they were more than willing to allow him to negotiate with the music publishers on their behalf.

In 1935 Rose became a household name after producing the musical extravaganza Jumbo complete with circus acts, wild animals and a Rodgers and Hart score that included “My Romance.” His 1943 production of Carmen Jones also received rave reviews. After the Second World War Rose wrote a weekly syndicated column called “Pitching Horseshoes” which ran in over 200 newspapers across the United States. The Billy Rose Theatre Collection of The New York Public Library is one of the largest and most comprehensive archives devoted to the theatrical arts. His divorce from the actress Eleanor Holm would be coined “The War of the Roses” by the press.

- Ben Maycock

Me and My Shadow

Ted Lewis

Clap Hands Here Comes Charlie!

Ella Fitzgerald

More Than You Know

Toni Tennille

More Than You Know

Lena Horne

Without a Song

Stan Getz

Paper Moon

Dave Brubeck

My Romance

Houston Person

My Romance

Kevin Mahogany

Reading and Viewing

At Amazon.com you can often buy used for a fraction of the new price

Stephen Nelson

Only a Paper Moon: The Theatre of Billy Rose

Umi Research Pr

Dorothy Dandridge, Harry Belafonte, Olga James, Pearl Bailey

Carmen Jones

20th Century Fox


Doris Day, Stephen Boyd, Jimmy Durante, Martha Raye, Dean Jagger

Billy Rose's Jumbo

Warner Home Video


Barbra Streisand, James Caan, Omar Sharif, Roddy McDowall, Ben Vereen

Funny Lady

Sony Pictures

DVD - Features several of Rose's songs

Barbra Streisand, James Caan, Omar Sharif, Roddy McDowall, Ben Vereen

Funny Lady

Sony Pictures

VHS - Features several of Rose's songs

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