b. Moses Schoenfeld, 1 January 1867, Poland, d. 20 July 1941, Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, California, USA. Relocating to America with his family while he was still a small child, Fields lived on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in New York City. He struck up a friendship with another boy, Joe Weber, and they formed the comedy double act of Weber And Fields. Basing their routines on the German-accented characters who filled their childhood landscape, they became increasingly popular through their numerous appearances in vaudeville and burlesque. Over the years, Weber and Fields brought their routines into more sophisticated shows, although they retained the central core of knockabout comedy for which they were famous. They produced some of their own shows, among them Whirl-i-gig (1899), Hoity-Toity (1901) and Hokey-Pokey (1912), bringing in top vaudeville and musical comedy artists such as DeWolf Hopper, Lillian Russell and Faye Templeton. Fields and Weber made some film appearances, including The Best Of Enemies (both 1915), The Worst Of Friends (1916), Friendly Enemies (1925), Blossoms On Broadway (1937) and Lillian Russell (1940). The early Mike & Meyer was named after their knockabout stage characters.
Fields, who had adopted the name Lewis Maurice Fields, had three talented children, all of whom built successful careers in showbusiness: Joseph Fields, Herbert Fields and Dorothy Fields. In addition to his film appearances with Weber, Fields also made a number of appearances alone, including The Duel (1930) and The Story Of Vernon And Irene Castle (1939). He had meanwhile extended his interest in Broadway productions, including bringing to fruition several that teamed his son Herbert as librettist for Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, among which were Peggy-Ann (1926) and A Connecticut Yankee (1929).