Role models of greatness.

Here you will discover the back stories of kings, titans of industry, stellar athletes, giants of the entertainment field, scientists, politicians, artists and heroes – all of them gay or bisexual men. If their lives can serve as role models to young men who have been bullied or taught to think less of themselves for their sexual orientation, all the better. The sexual orientation of those featured here did not stand in the way of their achievements.

Friday, August 21, 2015

George Forrest & Robert Wright

Robert Wright (1914-2005) and George Forrest (1915-1999, b. George Forrest Chichester, Jr.) were professional and life partners for over seventy years. They worked as a team writing music and lyrics for film, stage and club acts. While both men were credited equally as composer-lyricists, it was George who worked chiefly with the music. Although their specialty was providing lyrics for melodies from classical compositions, their output also included much original musical material, such as their score for Grand Hotel (1989). They worked exclusively with each other throughout their careers, and the peak of their creative output was during the late 1930s while under contract with M-G-M.

However, Wright and Forrest were best known for the 1953 Broadway musical and 1955 musical film Kismet, for which they had adapted musical themes by Alexander Borodin. Enduring songs from that show include Baubles, Bangles and Beads, Stranger In Paradise and And This Is My Beloved. The pair won a Tony award for their work on Kismet, and in 1995 they were awarded the ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers Award. They also received three Academy Award nominations for Best Song.

Wright and Forrest provided scores for dozens of films, chief among them After the Thin Man (1936), Boystown (1938), Marie Antoinette (1938), Our Gang Follies (1938), The Women (1939), I Married an Angel (1941) and Song of Norway (1970, adapting the music of Edvard Grieg). They wrote the hit song The Donkey Serenade (based on a musical theme by Rudolf Friml) along with composer Herbert Stothart. In total they worked together on over 50 films, 18 stage productions, and 13 TV specials, writing 2,000 songs during the course of their careers.

The two men met as Miami High School classmates in 1929. While still a teenager Wright was working as a pianist accompanying silent films, and he conducted his own high school orchestra. He met fourteen-year-old Forrest when George auditioned for the school’s glee club, and the two soon became lovers. They later auditioned as a pair for M-G-M in the mid-1930s and moved to Hollywood for the duration of their contract, which lasted until 1942.

The Wright and Forrest relationship represents the longest-running songwriting collaboration in the history of American show business.

Alfie Boe, who starred in a 2007 revival of Kismet, sings Stranger in Paradise. For those impatient types, the music starts at the 0:45 timing mark:

2 comments:

  1. i feel i should know these guys but have never heard of them!! thanks again for all your research and knowledge!!!

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