Comden, Betty 1917-2006 (Basya Cohen, Mrs. Steven Kyle)

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Comden, Betty 1917-2006 (Basya Cohen, Mrs. Steven Kyle)


See index for CA sketch: Born May 3, 1917, in New York, NY; died of heart failure, November 23, 2006, in New York, NY. Lyricist and author. Along with her partner, Adolph Green, Comden was the Antoinette Perry Award-winning lyricist of many memorable Broadway and film musicals, including Singin' in the Rain, On the Town, and Peter Pan. A drama major at New York University, she graduated in 1938 and not long afterwards met Green, a fellow aspiring actor. Their first break came when Judy Holliday brought them in to create the Revuers, a group that performed songs and acts together in the early 1940s at such venues as Los Angeles's Trocadero Nightclub and New York's Radio City Music Hall. Comden and Green caught the attention of composer Leonard Bernstein, who enlisted them to write lyrics for an adaptation of the ballet Fancy Free. The result was On the Town, a 1944 Broadway hit that was later made into a movie starring Gene Kelly. The duo would go on to write the lyrics, and often the scripts and books, for stage and screen musicals such as Singin' in the Rain (1952), Peter Pan (1954), Bells Are Ringing (1956), Do Re Mi (1960), Hallelujah, Baby (1967), On the Twentieth Century (1978), and The Will Rogers Follies (1991). Their work earned them five Tony Awards, three additional Tony nominations, an Obie Award, entrance into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1980, and many other honors. Comden also wrote the book Good Morning, Good Night (1967) with Green, and the memoir Off Stage (1995). Green passed away in 2002, but the two have left behind a lasting legacy for musical theater.



Comden, Betty, Off Stage, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1995.


Chicago Tribune, November 24, 2006, section 3, p. 5.

Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2006, p. B12.

New York Times, November 24, 2006, p. A21.

Times (London, England), November 28, 2006, p. 69.

Washington Post, November 25, 2006, p. B6.