Betty Comden and Adolph Green were the writing duo (billed as Comden and Green) who penned the screenplays and songs for some of the most beloved musicals, particularly as part of Arthur Freed's production unit at MGM during the genre's heyday.
Betty Comden was born Elizabeth Cohen in NYC on May 3, 1915 (see , ) although many sources incorrectly cite 1919 as her year of birth. She is still alive (aged 91 as of 2006). Adolph Green was born on December 2, 1914 in The Bronx, New York, and died (aged 87) on October 24, 2002 in Manhattan, New York.
The pair were not married (although many people thought they were), but had a unique comic and conversational connection that inspired such hits as the Broadway musicals On the Town and Wonderful Town, each of which was a celebration of New York City. Comden and Green later adapted On the Town for the screen in 1949, writing new songs, at the request of Arthur Freed, who did not care for the Bernstein score. Other successses included and On the Twentieth Century and Bells Are Ringing.
However, the duo are best remembered for their work on movie musicals. Having been recruited by Arthur Freed, who often acquired Broadway talent and surrounded himself with a unit of professionals, the highlights of their career included devising the plots and screenplays for Singin' in the Rain and The Band Wagon, using the song catalogs of Brown/Freed and Dietz/Schwartz respectively. It is often commented that the characters of Lester and Lily in The Band Wagon, the husband-and-wife team that writes the screenplay for the show-within-a-show, were autobiographical.
They wrote some of the songs to the famous version of Peter Pan which starred Mary Martin in the title role, first on Broadway and later on television.