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Bert Kalmar

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Bert Kalmar


Cover of Genii (1939)
BornFebruary 10, 1884
New York, New York
DiedSeptember 18, 1947 (age 63)

Bert Kalmar (February 10, 1884 - September 18, 1947) was a Jewish American lyricist who had an interest in magic all his life.


He was born in New York, New York and ran away from home at the age of 10 to become a magician at a tent show.

Kalmar retained an interest in magic all his life and was a member of Los Magicos, a magic organization out of Los Angeles, California.

Kalmar never received much of an education, but decided to make a career in show business. He earned enough money as a vaudeville performer to start a music publishing company, Kalmar and Puck. He hired Harry Ruby as a song plugger, and as a result of a knee injury that stopped him from dancing professionally, turned to writing songs full-time. Ruby, who had got a job at the firm of Waterson, Berlin and Snyder, got Kalmar a job at the same firm writing song lyrics. Before World War I he had begun to write lyrics for a number of different composers. One of them, Ruby, who had also had a number of collaborators, saw a strong compatibility between the two, and by 1920, Kalmar and Ruby recognized that they should form a permanent songwriting team.[1]

He worked for the USO during World War Two.


  1. Cover Genii 1939 June
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