• A Memorial Tribute to Moss Hart
  • A Memorial Tribute to Moss Hart

A Memorial Tribute to Moss Hart


Lindsay, Howard; Atkinson, Brooks; Schary, Dore; Ferber, Edna; Lerner, Alan J.; Cerf, Bennett. A Memorial Tribute to Moss Hart. New York: Random House, 1962.

8vo.; 30 pages; string-bound in brown paper wraps; in unfranked envelope.

The Tony Award–winning American playwright/lyricist Moss Hart was born in 1904 in New York City to a poor Jewish family and raised in what he described as a “drab tenement” on 107th St. in the Bronx. He was educated in the city public school system. He showed a knack for writing at an early age—he wrote his first play at age 12—and would stage his plays at the local YMHA [Young Men’s Hebrew Association]. It wasn't long before he joined the Thalian Players, a little-theater group, which won a citywide little-theater competition sponsored by the Belasco theater organization. He worked for a clothing retailer, and he would write and direct the annual company shows. He began directing little-theater groups in the New York/New Jersey area, and found work as the social director at various summer camps in rural Pennsylvania and Vermont, writing and staging plays for the camps’ clients.

His first “professional” play, The Hold-Up Man, premiered in Chicago in the late 1920s, but was a failure. However, his play Once in a Lifetime [1930] was a major hit—it was made into a film in 1932—and was the start

of a productive, and profitable, collaboration with writer George S. Kaufman. Kaufman and Hart had a string of successful plays, ranging from wild farces to dark, serious dramas. In 1937 the team received a Pulitzer Prize for their comedy You Can't Take It With You [1936], which was made into a hugely successful film the next year. Hart also worked by himself on occasion, and collaborated with Kurt Weill on Lady in the Dark [1941], which they wrote specifically for Gertrude Lawrence.

In addition to his work as a playwright on Broadway, he also directed several popular stage productions, including Camelot [1960] and My Fair Lady [1956], for which he won a Tony Award. He also wrote the screenplay for A Star Is Born [1954]. His autobiography, Act One [New York: Random House, 1959], was made into a film of the same name. He was married to actress Kitty Carlisle from 1946 to his death from a heart attack in Palm Springs, CA, in 1961. His publisher, Random House, published this tribute from his friends in the theatrical, literary, and film communities.