Jerry Ross

born on 9/3/1926 in New York City, NY, United States

died on 11/11/1955 in New York City, NY, United States

Jerry Ross (composer)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Jerry Ross
Birth name Jerold Rosenberg
Born March 9 1926
Origin Bronx, New York City, U.S.
Died November 11 1955 (aged 29)
Occupation(s) Lyricist, composer
Richard Adler

Jerry Ross (né Jerold Rosenberg March 9, 1926 November 11, 1955) was an American lyricist and composer whose works with Richard Adler for the musical theater include The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, winners of Tony Awards in 1955 and 1956 respectively in both the "Best Musical" and "Best Composer and Lyricist" categories.


Ross was born Jerold Rosenberg to Russian immigrant parents, Lena and Jacob Rosenberg, in the Bronx, New York City. Growing up, he was a professional singer and actor in the Yiddish theater, where he was billed as the Boy Star.

Following High School he studied at New York University under Rudolph Schramm. Introductions to singer Eddie Fisher and others, brought him into contact with music publishers at the Brill Building, the center of songwriting activity in New York. (Fisher later had a hit with Ross The Newspaper Song)

Ross met Richard Adler in 1950, and as a duo they became proteges of the great composer/lyricist/publisher Frank Loesser. Their song Rags to Riches was recorded by Tony Bennett and reached number 1 on the charts in 1953.

Adler and Ross began their career in the Broadway Theater with John Murray Andersons Almanac, a revue for which they provided most of the songs (resulting in recordings of Acorn in the Meadow by Harry Belafonte and Fini by Polly Bergen).

Adler and Ross's second effort, The Pajama Game, opened in May 1954 and was a big popular as well as a critical success, winning Tony Awards as well as the Donaldson Award and the Variety Drama Critics Award. Two songs from the show, Hernandos Hideaway (for Archie Bleyer) and Hey There (for Rosemary Clooney), topped the Hit Parade. Other notable songs were Steam Heat (famously choreographed on stage by Bob Fosse), Small Talk, and Seven And A Half Cents.

Opening almost exactly a year later, their next vehicle, Damn Yankees replicated the awards and success of the earlier show. Cross-over hits from the show were Heart, recorded by Eddie Fisher and Whatever Lola Wants for Sarah Vaughan.

Both shows ran on Broadway for over 1000 performances.

Jerry Ross died at the age of 29, from complications related to the lung disease bronchiectasis, on November 11, 1955. In his short life Ross was extremely productive, he wrote, alone or in collaboration, more than 250 songs in addition to his theatre work.

Ross was entered posthumously into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1982, his wife, Judy, and daughter, Janie, accepting on his behalf.

External links

  • Biography on Music Theater International site
  • The Jerry Ross Official website
  • Jerry Ross at the Songwriters' Hall of Fame

Musicals of Richard Adler and Jerry Ross
John Murray Anderson's Almanac The Pajama Game Damn Yankees

Songs: Rags to Riches Hey There Hernando's Hideaway Steam Heat Whatever Lola Wants Heart I'm Not at All in Love
Related articles: Harry on Broadway, Act I The Pajama Game Dance with Me
Musicals of Richard Adler: The Sin of Pat Muldoon The Gift of the Magi Kwamina A Mother's Kisses Rex Music Is

This page was last modified 08.09.2010 05:09:07

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