Brown - Dark
Brooklyn, NY, USA
Place of Death
New York City, NY, USA
Cause of Death
Claim to Fame
Just in Time
Profile Bio Text
Betty Comden (May 3, 1917 – November 23, 2006), was one-half of the musical-comedy duo Comden and Green, who provided lyrics, libretti, and screenplays to some of the most beloved and successful Hollywood musicals and Broadway shows of the mid-20th century. Her writing partnership with Adolph Green lasted for six decades, during which time they collaborated with other leading entertainment figures such as the famed "Freed Unit" at MGM, Jule Styne and Leonard Bernstein. Comden and Green headed back to California and soon found work at MGM. They wrote the screenplays for Good News and The Barkleys of Broadway (which reunited Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers), and then adapted On the Town for Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly, scrapping most of Bernstein`s music at the request of Arthur Freed, who did not care for the Bernstein score. Comden and Green reunited with Gene Kelly for their most successful project, the classic Singin` in the Rain, about Hollywood in the final days of the silent film era. Comden and Green provided the story and screenplay; the songs were old 1920s hits by Arthur Freed and Nacio Herb Brown. They followed this with another hit, The Band Wagon, in which the characters of Lester and Lily, a husband-and-wife musical-writing team, were patterned after themselves. They were Oscar-nominated twice, for their screenplays for The Band Wagon and It`s Always Fair Weather. They also earned three Screen Writers Guild Awards: for the two aforementioned movies as well as On the Town.
Their stage work of the 1950s included the revue Two on the Aisle, starring Bert Lahr and Dolores Gray, with music by Jule Styne; Wonderful Town, a musical adaptation of the play My Sister Eileen with music by Bernstein; and Bells Are Ringing, which reunited them with Judy Holliday and Jule Styne. The score, including the standards "Just in Time", "Long Before I Knew You", and "The Party`s Over", proved to be one of their richest. Comden and Green contributed additional lyrics to the 1954 musical Peter Pan, translated and streamlined Die Fledermaus for the Metropolitan Opera, and collaborated with Styne on songs for the play-with-music Say, Darling. In 1958, they appeared on Broadway in A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, a revue that included some of their early sketches. It was a critical and commercial success, and they brought an updated version back to Broadway in 1977. Comden and Green`s Broadway work in the 1960s included four collaborations with Jule Styne. They wrote the lyrics for Do Re Mi, and the book and lyrics for Subways Are For Sleeping, Fade Out - Fade In, and Hallelujah, Baby! Their Hallelujah, Baby! score won a Tony Award. Comden and Green wrote the libretto for the 1970 musical Applause, an adaptation of the film All About Eve, and wrote the book and lyrics for 1978`s On the Twentieth Century, with music by Cy Coleman. Comden also played the role of Letitia Primrose in that musical when original star Imogene Coca left the show. Comden and Green`s final musical hit was 1991`s The Will Rogers Follies, providing lyrics to Cy Coleman`s music.
In the early 1980s, Betty Comden appeared as an actress in Wendy Wasserstein`s non-musical play Isn`t It Romantic, portraying the heroine`s mother. Comden and Green`s biggest failure was 1982`s A Doll`s Life, a misguided attempt to figure out what Nora did after she abandoned her husband in Henrik Ibsen`s A Doll`s House, which ran for only five performances, although they received Tony Award nominations for its book and score. Comden and Green received Kennedy Center Honors in 1991. Betty Comden died of heart failure following an undisclosed illness of several months at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan on Thanksgiving Day, November 23, 2006, aged 89.
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Full Name at Birth
Jerome Robbins, Adolph Green, Leonard Bernstein, Judy Holiday, Gene Kelly
Soundtrack, Writer, Actor/Actress
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Betty Comden (May 3, 1917 – November 23, 2006) was one-half of the musical-comedy duo Comden and Green, who provided lyrics, libretti, and screenplays to some of the most beloved and successful Hollywood musicals and Broadway shows of the mid-20th century. Her writing partnership with Adolph Green, called "the longest running creative partnership in theatre history", lasted for six decades, during which time they collaborated with other leading entertainment figures such as the famed "Freed Unit" at MGM, Jule Styne and Leonard Bernstein, and wrote the musical comedy film Singin' in the Rain.
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Actress, Screenwriter, Author, Songwriter
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Erasmus Hall High School
New York University (B.S., 1938)
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