Sammy Cahn was nominated for more than 30 Oscars, and won four times. His songs were recorded by virtually every major singer. And he wrote some of the best known of all popular songs.
He was born Samuel Cohen in New York on June 18, 1913 into a family of Jewish immigrants from Polish Galicia, and spent his childhood on the Lower East Side. He attended Seward Park High School. Early on, he learned to play the violin, and from the time he was fourteen he played in local Bar Mitzvah bands. While still in his teens, he played the violin in pit bands of burlesque houses. He became friendly with fellow band-member, pianist Saul Chaplin, and they began writing songs together. At first they wrote specialty numbers for vaudeville acts. Then, in 1935 they wrote "Rhythm Is Our Business" for the Jimmy Lunceford Band. Lunceford recorded it, and it became the Lunceford Band's theme song. In 1936 they had another success with "Until The Real Thing Comes Along".
In 1937, they adapted "Bei Mir Bist Du Shon", which they mistakenly believed to be a Yiddish folk song--it was actually a modern Yiddish theater song by Sholom Secunda--into English for the then-unknown Andrews Sisters. The Andrews Sisters had a huge hit with the song, and Cahn and Chaplin were on their way.
In 1940, Cahn and Chaplin went to Hollywood. Soon they parted ways, and in 1942 Cahn began writing with Jules Styne. They would write songs together for 19 films between 1942 and 1951. Among their songs were "I've Heard That Song Before" (1942); "I'll Walk Alone"(1944); "Saturday Night Is The…