b. 5 January 1879, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, d. 1 September 1959, Laguna Beach, California, USA. A songwriter, producer, and all-round entertainer in the musical theatre, Norworth started out as a black-faced comedian, and spent several years in minstrel shows and vaudeville at the turn of the twentieth century. In 1906, he appeared in Lew Fields’ elaborate vaudeville revue About Town, and two years later joined contralto Nora Bayes - his second wife - in the Ziegfeld Follies Of 1908. They introduced their most famous composition, ‘Shine On Harvest Moon’, in that show, and were together again in Follies Of 1909, The Jolly Bachelors (1910), Little Miss Fix-It (1911), and Roly Poly (1912). In the early years of World War I Norworth was in London, where he starred in productions such as Hullo Tango (taking over during the run in 1914), Rosy Rapture-The Pride Of the Beauty Chorus and Looking Around (both 1915), specializing in tongue-twisting numbers such as ‘Sister Susie’s Sewing Shirts For Soldiers’ (R.P. Weston-Herman Darewski) and ‘Which Switch Is The Switch, Miss, For Ipswich?’ (Darewski-F.W. Mark). He made his final Broadway appearance in Odds And Ends (1917), which he also co-produced. Norworth’s other compositions with Bayes included ‘Turn Off Your Light, Mr. Moon-Man’, ‘Fancy You Fancying Me’, ‘I’m Sorry’, and ‘Young America’. He also wrote the lyrics for composer Albert Von Tilzer’s immensely popular ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’, and other numbers such as ‘Honey Boy’, ‘Smarty’, and ‘Good Evening, Caroline’. Norworth and Bayes’ most famous song, ‘Shine On Harvest Moon’, was sung by Ruth Etting in the Ziegfeld Follies Of 1931, and it was the title of the Norworth-Bayes 1944 film biography, which starred Ann Sheridan and Dennis King. In 1948 Norworth was still reported to be active in benefit shows, as well as running a novelty shop in California.
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