Moss Hart, 1904 - 1961
Born: 24 October 1904, New York City
Died: 20 December 1961, Palm Springs, California
Moss Hart was largely raised by an irascible grandfather, bitter about his life in the US compared to his brothers' lives in England but in love with reading, and an aunt who often took him out of school for Thursday matinees, and occasionally set fire to the theater. He worked for several years on "the borscht circuit" as entertainment director at Catskill resorts, then had his first Broadway success with Once in a Lifetime, his first collaboration with George S. Kaufman. They wrote eight plays together over the next decade, mostly hits, including You Can't Take it With You in 1937, the first drama Pulitzer ever given to a musical. Despite being gay, he married Kitty Carlisle in 1946. As a director, his biggest hits were My Fair Lady in 1956 and Camelot in 1961. He had a heart attack before the Broadway opening of Camelot but was able to work with Lerner to make changes after it did open, cutting the script way back from the nearly four and a half hours it took the first night in the tryout at Toronto. The show played 873 times on Broadway, Moss' heart failed about two weeks after it opened.
Moss Hart quotes:
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- Camelot is lovely. Camelot is going to be glorious. Camelot is long. You're going to be a lot older when you get out of here tonight. permalink
Moss Hart - Introducing the show on opening night at Toronto (1960)
- All the mistakes I ever made were when I wanted to say 'no' and said 'yes'. permalink
- Boredom is the keynote of poverty — of all its indignities, it is perhaps the hardest of all to live with — for where there is no money there is no change of any kind. permalink
Moss Hart - Act One (1959)
- Can success change the human mechanism so completely between one dawn and another? Can it make one feel taller, more alive, handsomer, uncommonly gifted and indomitably secure with the certainty that this is the way life will always be? It can and it does! permalink
Moss Hart - Act One (1959)
- Charity in the theater begins and ends with those who have a play opening within a week of one's own. permalink
- Nobody bores any man as much as an unhappy female. permalink
- So far as I know, anything worth hearing is not usually uttered at seven o'clock in the morning; and if it is, it will generally be repeated at a more reasonable hour for a larger and more wakeful audience. permalink
- The only credential the City (New York) asked was the boldness to dream. For those who did, it unlocked its gates and its treasures, Not caring who they were or where they came from. permalink
- There's nothing the matter with Hollywood that a good earthquake couldn't cure. permalink
- You'd be surprised how many kings are only a queen with a moustache. permalink
Moss Hart - Hans Christian Andersen (1952)
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