πŸ‘€ PROFILE: “LEO ROBIN”

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LEO ROBIN

By Mahnuel MuΓ±oz

Leo Robin was born on April 6, 1900 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He studied at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and at Carnegie Tech’s theater school. After graduating, he worked as an advertising agent, newspaper reporter and even as a social worker. However, his first ambition was to be a playwright and, in the early 1920s, he moved to New York City to pursue this goal.

In New York, Robin began writing lyrics for various songwriters. His first hit came with the song “Looking Around“, with composer Richard Myers. Robin soon turned his attention to the Broadway stage and with composers such as Vincent Youmans, he produced “Just Fancy“, “Alley Oop” and “Hit the Deck“.

In 1930, Robin performed another hit song in the Broadway revue “Tattle Tales,” titled “I’ll Take an Option on You,” composed by Ralph Rainger. This was the beginning of a great team between Robin and Rainger. Under contract to Paramount Studios, Robin and Rainger moved to Hollywood and produced some of the most memorable film scores of the era, including “She Made Him Wrong“, “She Loves Me Not“, “Shoot the Works“, “Here is My Heart“, “The Big Broadcast of 1937“, “The Big Broadcast of 1938“, “Waikiki Wedding“, “Give Me A Sailor” and “Paris Honeymoon“.

In 1939, Robin and Rainger left Paramount and signed with 20th Century Fox, where they continued to contribute songs to films.

Robin and Rainger wrote some of the best standards of the era, including “Please,” “I Have to Have You,” “Beyond the Blue Horizon,” “June in January,” “I Don’t Want to Make History, I Just Want to Make Love,” β€œA Rhyme for Love,” β€œHere Lies Love,” β€œGive Me Liberty or Give Me Love,” β€œWith Every Breath I Take,” β€œHere’s Love in Your Eye” and β€œBlue Hawaii”

In 1938, the pair received the Academy Award for Best Song for “Thanks For the Memory,” memorably covered by Frank Sinatra in 1981 for his album “She Shot Me Down.”

After Rainger’s death in 1942, Robin worked with many other composers, including Jerome Kern (“In Love In Vain“), Arthur Schwartz (“A Gal in Calico“, “A Rainy Night in Rio“, “Oh But I Do“). Harry Warren (β€œThe Lady in the Tutti Frutti Hat,” β€œPaducah,” β€œZing A Little Zong,”), Harold Arlen (β€œHooray for Love,” β€œFor Every Man There’s a Woman”).

In 1949, Robin and Jule Styne wrote the score for the Broadway musical “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.” The production starred Carol Channing and included the songs “Bye Bye, Baby,” “A Little Girl from Little Rock” and, of course, “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” A few years later, Marilyn Monroe would reprise her role in the 1953 film version.

In the 1950s, Robin collaborated with Sigmund Romberg on the Broadway musical “The Girl in Pink Tights.” While in production, Romberg died and the musical was not completed until 1954. Robin’s final collaboration came in 1955 for the musical film “My Sister Eileen“, another collaboration with Jule Styne. After the score was completed, Robin retired.

Leo Robin died in Woodland Hills, California, on December 29, 1984.

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