Lyricist, playwright, producer and actor, Edward Eliscu was born in New York City on April 26, 1902.
Growing up in New York he attended public schools and developed a love for music and acting as a young boy. After receiving his Bachelor of Science degree from the City College of New York, he began performing in Broadway plays. His appearances included the plays The Racket, Quarantine and The Dybbuk.
In 1929, Eliscu produced his first Broadway score with composer Vincent Youmans and co-lyricist Billy Rose entitled Great Day!. Hits from this score include “Great Day”, “More Than You Know” and “Without a Song”. Other Broadway scores Eliscu wrote during his career include Lady Fingers, The Street Singer, A Little Racketeer, Frederika (also librettist), Meet the People (also producer) and The Banker’s Daughter. Eliscu also contributed to the revues 9:15 Revue, The Garrick Gaieties (1930) and The Little Show.
In 1930, Eliscu began contributing songs to film scores as well as writing film screenplays. While he contributed songs to over 40 film scores, his most notable was the 1934 Fred Astaire vehicle Flying Down to Rio. The Eliscu song “Carioca” not only launched the partnership of Astaire and his co-star Ginger Rogers, but also earned Eliscu an Academy Award nomination in 1935 for Best Song.
Eliscu was also widely recognized as a talented playwright and screenwriter. His screenplays created the films The Gay Divorcee, Three Husbands and Out of the Blue.
Throughout his career, Eliscu worked with many composers and including Vincent Youmans, Billy Rose, Jay Gorney, Henry Myers, John Green, Gus Kahn, Vernon Duke, Manning Sherwin, Richard Myers, Ned Lehac and Billy Hill. With these partners, Eliscu wrote hits such as “Happy Because I’m in Love”, “Ankle Up the Altar”, “Music Makes Me”, “Orchids in the Moonlight”, “Meet the People”, “A Fellow and A Girl”, “You Forgot Your Gloves” and “They Cut Down the Old Pine Tree”.
Edward Eliscu died in Newtown, Connecticut on June 18, 1998.