Moss Hart

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Moss Hart, 1904–61, American dramatist, b. New York City, studied at Columbia. His first important play, Once in a Lifetime (1930), marked the beginning of a long collaboration with George S. Kaufman. Among their other successful comedies are Merrily We Roll Along (1934), You Can't Take It with You (1936; Pulitzer Prize), I'd Rather Be Right (1937, written with George M. Cohan), The Man Who Came to Dinner (1939), and George Washington Slept Here (1940). Hart also collaborated on musicals with Irving Berlin and Cole Porter, and his most successful musical, Lady in the Dark (1941), was written with Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin. Among his plays, produced between 1941 and 1952, are Winged Victory,Christopher Blake,Light Up the Sky, and The Climate of Eden. Hart also directed several 1940s film comedies and wrote the 1952 screen hit Hans Christian Andersen. In 1956 he returned to Broadway as director of the long-running musical hit My Fair Lady.

See his autobiographical Act One (1959); biography by S. Bach (2001).

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HART, MOSS

HART, MOSS (1904–1961), U.S. playwright. Born and raised on New York's East Side, Hart wrote his first play when he was 12 and gained early experience as a producer in Jewish clubs. His first success was Once in a Lifetime (1930), a satire on Hollywood written in collaboration with George S. *Kaufman. With Kaufman he went on to write Face the Music (1932), a satire on New York municipal government which became an Irving *Berlin revue; As Thousands Cheer (1933), a revue with music by Irving Berlin; Merrily We Roll Along (1934), a satire on Broadway; and two famous comedies, You Can't Take It With You (1936), which won a Pulitzer Prize, and The Man Who Came To Dinner (1939). On his own, Hart wrote the satirical George Washington Slept Here (1940); the libretto for the musical Lady in the Dark (1941); and The Climate of Eden (1952). Hart's direction of My Fair Lady, the 1956 musical based on Shaw's Pygmalion, was widely acclaimed. Hart's autobiography, Act One (1959), a modest but moving story, was filmed shortly after his death. He was married to Kitty Carlisle *Hart.

bibliography:

J. Gould, Modern American Playwrights (1966), 154–67. add. bibliography: Steven Bach, Dazzler: The Life and Times of Moss Hart (2001).

[Bernard Grebanier]

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Hart, Moss (1904–61) US dramatist. He collaborated with George S. Kaufman on many comedies, including You Can't Take It With You (1936). His most successful musical was Lady in the Dark (1941), written with Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin. In 1956, he directed My Fair Lady.