Frank Loesser

A respected Broadway name due to his Guys and Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, a composer who wrote half a dozen wartime songs including "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition," a Hollywood lyric-writer for several 1940s films -- it appears that Frank Loesser had several careers packed into his one life. Born into a musical family in New York City in 1910, Loesser refused formal training, however, deciding instead to learn by himself while at the piano. Never serious about a show-business career, he dropped out of college to work at a series of jobs including office boy, reporter, inspector, advertising salesman and part-time vaudevillian. After selling one song to a fellow performer, he earned a job as a lyric-writer in Tin Pan Alley, and first published in 1931. Though Fats Waller recorded another of his early-'30s compositions, "I Wish I Were Twins," Loesser was unsuccessful and had to augment his income by singing at a 52nd St. nightspot.

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