Howard Dietz (Howard M. Dietz)
BiographyNew York City, New York, USA
Dietz was an unusual, but not illogical, combination: a publicist-lyricist. Of his upbringing, he wrote, "We lived in cycles of Manhattan, inheriting neighborhoods as they became passe, from Yorkville to Harlem, to Washington Heights, to West End Avenue, to Riverside Drive. As a result, I got to know kids from all over town -- marble shooters, button pitchers, stoop handballers, and other dazzling athletes who used the city for a outdoor gym." He went on to Townsend Harris high school ('Ira Gershwin' and E.Y. Read more... Columbia University. First prize in a slogan-writing contest sponsored by a cigarette company landed Dietz an advertising job; his employer introduced him to Samuel Goldwyn, whose publicity staff Dietz joined, and Jerome Kern, who became his collaborator on a 1924 Broadway musical, "Dear Sir". In 1929, for a Broadway revue called "The Little Show", Dietz first teamed with the lawyer-turned-composer Arthur Schwartz. With interruptions, their partnership lasted more than 30 years, producing such songs as "Dancing in the Dark", "By Myself" and "You and the Night and the Music". Many of their Broadway numbers (and a new one, "That's Entertainment") were used in The Band Wagon (1953), although some of Dietz's lyrics from the 1920s and 1930s had to be toned down for 1950s MGM. Dietz served as a publicist for the Goldwyn company and its successor, MGM, for decades, but his Broadway credentials (he wrote sketches and "books" as well as lyr ics) earned him a seat at the so-called Algonquin Round Table with George S. Kaufman, Robert Benchley et al.