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On this Day in Movie History, July 11, 1937: George Gershwin dies

On this Day, July 11, 1937 George Gershwin dies
Library of Congress, Public Domain

It was on this day, July 11, 1937 American composer and pianist. George Gershwin (B: September 26, 1898) died. Gershwin's compositions spanned both popular and classical genres, and his most popular melodies are widely known.

Beginning his career as a song plugger, Gershwin soon started composing Broadway theater works with his brother Ira Gershwin and Buddy DeSylva. Gershwin moved to Hollywood and composed numerous compositions which have been adapted for use in many films and for television. Several became jazz standards recorded in many variations.

Among his best known works are the orchestral compositions Rhapsody in Blue (1924) and An American in Paris (1928), as well as the opera Porgy and Bess (1935). Many celebrated singers and musicians have covered his songs.

Gershwin died on the morning of July 11, 1937 at the age of 38 from a brain tumor. An attempt by doctors at Cedars of Lebanon to excise the tumor was made in the early hours of the 11th, but it proved unsuccessful.

Gershwin received his sole Academy Award nomination, for Best Original Song at the 1937 Oscars, for "They Can't Take That Away from Me", written with his brother Ira for the 1937 film Shall We Dance.

1920 - Yul Brynner (Taidje Khan) (Academy & Tony Award-winning actor: The King and I [1956, 1951 resp.]; The Ten Commandments, The Magnificent Seven, Anastasia, The Brothers Karamazov, Futureworld, Westworld; died Oct 10, 1985)

1922 - Gene Evans (actor: My Friend Flicka, Walking Tall, Support Your Local Sheriff, Operation Petticoat, The Concrete Cowboys; died Apr 1, 1998)

1924 - Brett Somers (actress: The Odd Couple, Perry Mason; TV panelist: Match Game P.M.; died Sep 15, 2007)

1952 - Stephen Lang (actor: Tombstone, Last Exit to Brooklyn, Death of a Salesman, Crime Story)

1956 - Sela Ward (actress: Sisters, The Fugitive, Child of Darkness, Child of Light)

1958 - Mark Lester (actor: Oliver, The Prince and the Pauper, Fahrenheit 451)

1963 - Lisa Rinna (model, actress: Days of Our Lives, Melrose Place, Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.)

1966 - Debbe Dunning (actress: Home Improvement)

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