Tin Pan Alley composer Gerald Marks is best known for co-writing the standard "All of Me," the biggest of his more than 400 published songs. Marks was born in Saginaw, MI, on October 13, 1900, taught himself to play the piano, and first saw one of his compositions performed publicly at the age of 11, by the local orchestra. He later dropped out of school and made his way to New York to become a professional songwriter. In 1931, he teamed up with lyricist Seymour Simons to write "All of Me"; both Louis Armstrong and Paul Whiteman had hits with the song the following year, and countless other jazz and pop artists recorded their own versions, including Frank Sinatra, Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington, and (much later) Willie Nelson. One of Marks' biggest later successes was 1936's "Is It True What They Say About Dixie?," written with lyricists Irving Caesar and Sammy Lerner for Al Jolson; it became a hit for both Jimmy Dorsey and Rudy Vallée. That same year, Marks also contributed "That's What I Want for Christmas" to the Shirley Temple film Stowaway. Other Marks collaborations with Lerner and Caesar included "Old Susannah, Dust Off That Piana" and "I Don't Know You, but You're Beautiful." In addition to writing songs for movies and musicals, Marks wrote music for campaigns related to children's safety and government war bonds, led his own orchestra for a time, and served on the board of the Songwriters' Hall of Fame. Later in life, he frequently lectured on his experiences in Tin Pan Alley, retiring in 1991. He passed away on January 27, 1997.
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