Irving Berlin's Interesting Facts

1 Won a 1978 Lawrence Langner Tony Award (New York City) and for a distinguished life in the American theater.
2 Won a 1963 Special Tony Award (New York City) for his many years of distinguished contribution to the American musical.
3 He was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Recording at 7095 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
4 His great-grandchildren include: Peter and James Matson; Benjamin Lerner; Rachel, Nicholas and William Swett; and granddaughter Emily's daughters Madeleine and Isobel Fletcher.
5 Daughter Elizabeth married second husband Alton E. Peters and now goes by Elizabeth Irving Peters.
6 Daughter Linda lives in Paris with husband Edouard C. Emmet.
7 His infant son, Irving Berlin, Jr., died Christmas morning, 1928. He was suffering from typhoid fever at the time of his death. Berlin's wife, Ellin, who was estranged from her father, heard from him for the first time when he sent her a letter of condolence. They fully reconciled in 1931.
8 His daughter Elizabeth married Edmund Boyd Fisher in London in September, 1963. They later divorced.
9 He had four children: Mary Ellin Berlin (born November 25, 1926), Irving Berlin, Jr. (December 1-December 25, 1928), Linda Louise Berlin (born February 21, 1932), and Elizabeth Iris Berlin (born June 16, 1936).
10 His second wife, Ellin, was born March 22, 1903. Her father, Clarence H. Mackay, was the son of John W. Mackay (1831-1902), one of the principal owner/operators of the Comstock Lode (Consolidated Virginia and California Mine in Nevada, also Bonanza Firm--a four-way partnership worth some $190 million by 1877), one of the major silver discoveries in the 1870s. A devout conservative Roman Catholic Irishman, Clarence was horrified that his daughter was engaged to a Jew, and he disowned her. They would reconcile in the early 1930s.
11 His first wife, Dorothy, was born in March, 1892. She died of typhoid fever and pneumonia.
12 He had nine grandchildren: Edward Watson Emmet (born circa 1968), Ellin Emmet, and Caroline Emmet from daughter Linda; Elizabeth Matson (born in 1954), Irving Barrett (born in 1955), Mary Ellin Barrett Lerner (born in 1956), and Katherine Swett (born in 1960), from daughter Mary Ellin; and Emily Anstice Fisher (born circa 1966) and Rachel, from daughter Elizabeth.
13 Is a character in the musical "Turn of the Century.".
14 Daughter, Linda, was named after Cole Porter's wife.
15 One of his most popular songs "Easter Parade" (1933) had been published earlier as "Smile and Show Your Dimple".
16 Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume Two, 1986-1990, pages 87-91. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1999.
17 Inducted into the American Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1970.
18 First artist to actually present himself with an Oscar when he won for song "White Christmas" from Holiday Inn (1942).
19 Father of Mary Ellen Barrett.
20 In 1963, won a Special Tony Award "for his distinguished contribution to the musical theatre for these many years."
21 Stepson-in-law of Anna Case.
22 Brother-in-law of E. Ray Goetz.
23 One of the few classic pop songwriters of his era to serve as both composer and lyricist of his songs. Cole Porter and Johnny Mercer were among the others who shared this rare talent.
24 Wrote his first ballad hit, "When I Lost You", in his grief over the death of his first wife, Dorothy Goetz. She had died of typhoid, contracted on her honeymoon, just four months after their marriage in 1912.
25 Despite the fact that he was one of America's most prolific songwriters, he suffered frequent attacks of writer's block, which could last anywhere from several days to several months.
26 Although he wrote what is arguably the most popular secular Christmas song ever written, "White Christmas", Christmas was always a bittersweet time for the Berlin family. Irving and Eileen Berlin's only son, Irving Jr., died at only a few weeks old, of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, on Christmas Day, 1928. Every year, on Christmas Day, the Berlins would lay a Christmas wreath on his grave, a tradition their heirs carry on today.
27 Was denied a Kennedy Center Honor. By the time he was considered for one, he was too ill to fulfill the requirement that an honoree must attend the award ceremony.
28 During the filming of his singing his composition "Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning" in This Is the Army (1943), one of the backstage crew was heard to have whispered to another crew worker, "If the guy who wrote this song could hear this guy singing it, he'd roll over in his grave!".
29 Sent a letter to major radio stations requesting that they not play Elvis Presley's version of "White Christmas" because it had been drastically revamped.
30 Interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York, USA.
31 First met lifelong best friend Fred Astaire on the set of Top Hat (1935).
32 Only played on the set of black keys. He had a special piano built with pedals that could change the set from F sharp into other keys.
33 Could not read music.
34 Songwriter.
35 When Berlin married Ellin Mackay, the Comstock Lode heiress, the bride's father wrote her out of his will for marrying a Jew. Berlin then assigned the copyright of his popular song, "Always", to her, which yielded very handsome royalties as the years went by. And true to the sentiments of the song, Berlin devoted himself to his lovely wife for the rest of her long life.
36 Died of natural causes at age 101.
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