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Dorothy Fields

Lyricist, Writer

(1905 - 1974)

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Dorothy Fields came from a prominent show business family and became a brilliant lyricist in a male-dominated profession. She was the first woman inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame and was honored with a U.S. postage stamp.

Her seven-year collaboration with Jimmy McHugh enjoyed its first success with the revue, Blackbirds of 1928, which featured “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love.” Later shows and films gave us “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “Exactly Like You” (1930), “Don’t Blame Me” (1933), and “I’m in the Mood for Love” (1935).

Fields collaborated with Jerome Kern on the Fred Astaire / Ginger Rogers film Swing Time (1936), winning an Academy Award for “The Way You Look Tonight.” The clever songs included “Never Gonna Dance,” “Pick Yourself Up,” and “A Fine Romance.” Kern, whose leanings were classically European, was inspired to some of his best work here by the lively lyricist 20 years his junior.

Fields returned to Broadway and partnered with her librettist brother, Herbert, to write the book for Annie Get Your Gun and collaborate on three Cole Porter musicals. Herbert died while they were writing the book for Redhead (1959) with composer Albert Hague. The show became a commercial success and won a Tony for Musical Play and a Grammy for Musical Show Album.

Other collaborations produced the songs “Close as Pages in a Book” (1945) with Sigmund Romberg and “Make the Man Love Me” (1951) with Arthur Schwartz. She wrote two shows with composer Cy Coleman. Sweet Charity (1966) was an enormous success and was made into a movie starring Shirley MacLaine. Fields’ lyrics for the hit songs “Big Spender” and “If My Friends Could See Me Now” display her knack for capturing colloquial speech. Seesaw (1973), her last show, won a Tony for Best Musical and enjoyed a respectable run despite a paucity of hit songs.

Fields was the first woman to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

- Sandra Burlingame

On the Sunny Side of the Street

Helen Forrest

Don't Blame Me

Parker, Gillespie, Davis

Don't Blame Me

Nat King Cole

I'm in the Mood for Love

Shirley Bassey

Pick Yourself Up with Anita O'Day

Anita O'Day

A Fine Romance: Jerome Kern Songbook

Excellent assortment of jazz artists

Sings the Jerome Kern Songbook

Ella Fitzgerald Includes "Fine Romance" & "Way You Look Tonight"

A Tree Grows In Brooklyn (1951 Original Broadway Cast)

Johnny Johnston, Nathaniel Frey, Albert Linville, Delbert Anderson, Shirley Booth Lyrics by Fields

Seesaw (1973 Original Broadway Cast)

Dorothy Fields

An Evening with Dorothy Fields

Dorothy Fields
Reading and Viewing

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

Betty Comden (Foreword), Deborah Grace Winer, Dorothy Fields

On the Sunny Side of the Street : The Life and Lyrics of Dorothy Fields

Schirmer Books

Dorothy Fields, Frank Sinatra

The Way You Look Tonight

Rutledge Hill Press

Betty and Abbott, George (lyrics by Dorothy Fields) Smith

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn: A Musical Play

Harper and Brothers

Ronell is featured along with Dorothy Fields, Dana Suesse, and Kay Swift.

Yours for a Song: The Women of Tin Pan Alley (1998)


Edward Arnold, Evelyn Beresford, Eleanora Brown, Louis Calhern, Sue Casey

Annie Get Your Gun

Warner Home Video


Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers

Swing Time (1936)


Shirley MacLaine, John McMartin

Sweet Charity (1969)


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