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Richard A. Whiting

Richard Armstrong Whiting


(1891 - 1938)

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Richard A.Whiting was born to musical parents in Illinois and schooled in Los Angeles. After a stint on vaudeville and working nights as a pianist he became a staff writer for music publishers in Detroit where he met Gus Kahn and Ray Egan. Following a 1916 Al Jolson hit “Mammy’s Little Coal Black Rose,” written with Egan, the threesome wrote another Jolson hit in 1917, “Some Sunday Morning.” Whiting and Egan collaborated on “’Til We Meet Again” in 1918 and in 1919 wrote the book and music for the Broadway show Toot Sweet. Whiting also wrote the music for George White’s Scandals of 1919.

The Whiting/Egan pairing produced “Japanese Sandman” (1920), “Ain’t We Got Fun” (1921), and “Sleepy Time Gal” (1924 with Joseph Reed Alden and Ange Lorenzo). Whiting wrote “Breezin’ Along with the Breeze” with Haven Gillespie and Seymour Simons in 1926. “(I Got a Woman Crazy for Me) She’s Funny That Way,” written in 1928 with Neil Moret (Charles N. Daniels), charted in 1929 and has continued in popularity with generations of singers such as Nat “King” Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Tony Bennett.

In 1929 Whiting moved to Hollywood to write for films. He and Leo Robin created two Maurice Chevalier classics-- “Louise” (1929) and “My Ideal” (1930 with Newell Chase). That same year they collaborated with Franke Harling on “Beyond the Blue Horizon.”

Whiting returned briefly to Broadway to score Take a Chance (1932) in which Ethel Merman introduced “Eadie Was a Lady” and “You’re an Old Smoothie” with lyrics by Buddy De Sylva. Back in Hollywood he wrote “On the Good Ship Lollipop” with Sidney Clare for the Shirley Temple film Bright Eyes and was nominated for a best song Oscar for “When Did You Leave Heaven,” written with Walter Bullock for the 1936 film Sing, Baby, Sing.

A collaboration with Johnny Mercer, begun in 1937, was cut short by Whiting’s sudden heart attack in 1938 but not before they produced several songs, foremost among them “Too Marvelous for Words” and “Hooray for Hollywood.” Whiting left a legacy of great songs and two musical daughters, Barbara Whiting Smith and Margaret Whiting, who became an internationally known star.

- Sandra Burlingame

The V-Discs: Columbia Years: 1943-45

Frank Sinatra

My Ideal

Dan Faehnle

When Did You Leave Heaven

Lisa Ekdahl

Too Marvelous for Words

Count Basie

Too Marvelous for Words

Margaret Whiting

American Songbook Series: Richard Whiting

Various Artists

Hollywood Hotel (1937 Film)

Richard Whiting
Reading and Viewing

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Shirley Temple, James Dunn, Jane Darwell, Judith Allen, Lois Wilson

Bright Eyes (1934)

20th Century Fox


Shirley Temple, James Dunn

Bright Eyes (1934)

20th Century Fox


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