Composer, Born Israel Baline on May 11, 1888 in Tyumen, Russian Federation, Died Sept. 22, 1989 in Manhattan, NY. Irving Berlin was the most prolific and enduring composer of the last century.
Berlin's life works included such American classics as "God Bless America," and "White Christmas," and such lasting tunes as "Easter Parade," "There's No Business Like Show Business" and "Oh How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning." He outlived the copyright on "Alexander's Ragtime Band" 75 years after he wrote it.
Among his many popular hits from musicals were "Cheek to Cheek," "Marie" and "Blue Skies." He wrote the scores for the 1925 Marx Brothers show "The Coconuts, and the Broadway hit "Annie Get Your Gun." His last Broadway show was "Mr. President" in 1962.
In Hollywood, Berlin did the scores of "Top Hat," starring Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and "Holiday Inn" with Astaire and Bing Crosby.
He was nearly smothered with honors: a gold medal from the president for his patriotic songs, another from the Army for his two service shows, a special Tony award for his contributions to the stage, the French Legion of Honor. In 1987 Berlin was the only recipient of the annual Kennedy Center Honors not to attend the ceremony.
In 1988, on the occasion of his 100th birthday, 25 stars, 32 dancers and a 31-piece orchestra saluted him in a televised celebration at Carnegie Hall. But Berlin, whom a biographer declared "next to Greta Garbo the most famous recluse in show business," stayed at his Beekman Place townhouse with his beloved wife.