Lorenz (Larry) Hart (May 2, 1895 - November 22, 1943) was the lyricist half of the famed Broadway songwriting team Rodgers and Hart. His most memorable lyrics include, "Blue Moon", "The Lady is a Tramp", "Manhattan", "Mountain Greenery", and "My Funny Valentine".
Hart was born in Harlem, New York, to Jewish immigrant parents. His mother was a kind and loving woman, and his relationship with her was very good. His father claimed to be a businessman whose business was anything at all. Hart had a strange relationship with his father, but enjoyed telling people that his father was a crook. This upbringing helped make Hart a very boisterous and fiery personality. He loved to throw parties, and had an insatiable taste for the 'high life.'
Hart attended Columbia University, where a mutual friend introduced him to composer Richard Rodgers in 1919, and the two wrote songs for a series of amateur and student productions. In 1919, the team landed their first song in a Broadway musical. The song was "Any Old Place With You" and it premiered in the musical comedy A Lonely Romeo. The smashing success of their score for the 1925 Theatre Guild production, The Garrick Gaieties, brought them great acclaim. They continued working together until Hart's death in 1943, along the way producing scores for a series of hit shows and making a substantial contribution to the Great American Songbook.
Hart struggled with his own homosexuality in an era when such a lifestyle was socially unacceptable and with alcoholism, which eventually contributed to his death. Hart also suffered great emotional turmoil toward the end of his life. His personal problems were often the cause of friction between him and Richard Rodgers, and in fact led to a brief breakup in 1943, at which time Rodgers started working with Oscar Hammerstein II, who was actually a school friend of Hart.
Rodgers and Hart teamed up one final time in the fall of 1943 for a revival of A Connecticut Yankee. Five days after this show opened, Hart died of pneumonia from exposure. He is believed to have died alone. He is buried in Mount Zion Cemetery in Queens County, New York.
Selected list of works