One of George Gershwin's closest professional friends, Irving Caesar composed several standards -- "Sometimes I'm Happy," "Tea for Two," "Swanee" (with Gershwin), and "Crazy Rhythm" -- during a long life that saw him live past the age of 100. Born on Manhattan's Lower East Side on the Fourth of July, 1895, Caesar played piano and composed songs from an early age. Just after World War II, he ran across George Gershwin at a music publisher in Tin Pan Alley, and the two became lifelong friends. In 1919, their co-composition "Swanee" became a big hit after Al Jolson included it in his show at the Winter Gardens. Caesar's most famed song was the lyric for the title song of 1924's Tea for Two, with music by Vincent Youmans. That same year, his work with Cole Porter and Lew Fields on The Greenwich Village Follies made for another big hit. In ...
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