Thomas Andrew "Tom" Lehrer

portrait of Tom Lehrer
Performing at UCLA ("Greek Week" 1960)

Born: 9 April 1928, Manhattan, New York, New York

Lehrer graduated from Loomis Chaffee School at Windsor, Connecticut, then went on to Harvard where he earned his BA (1947 in math, Magna cum Laude). It was at Harvard that he first composed and performed caustic and satiric tunes at parties. After earning an MA the following year he stayed on to teach at Harvard as well as MIT and Wellesley, taking leave later to tour with an expanded repertoire. He recorded his first album, Songs by Tom Lehrer, possibly the most profitable recording project ever: he paid $50 for recording time and sold 370,000 copies, mostly by mail. He served in the Army from 1955 to 1957, actually working for the National Security Agency at Los Alamos. He never finished his doctorate. He taught at MIT for ten years, apparently in the political science department. He was the resident songwriter for the American version of That Was the Week that Was from late 1963 through May of 1965 although the songs were sung by a female vocalist and he didn't think much of the performance, he released them himself as That Was the Year that Was after the series ended. In 1972 he joined the faculty of the University of California at Santa Cruz where he taught a class called "The Nature of Mathematics" to liberal-arts students (he referred to this as "Math for Tenors") and a class in musical theater. He taught his last class there in 2001. He has been lauded as the finest musical satirist of the century by such experts as Dr Demento, "Weird Al" Yankevich, and the Quotemaster.

Biography from Wikipedia and The Onion interview

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