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Richard Charles Rodgers (June 28, 1902 – December 30, 1979) was one of the great composers of musical theater, best known for his song writing partnerships with Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein II. He wrote more than 900 published songs, and forty Broadway musicals. Many of his compositions continue to have a broad appeal and have had a significant impact on the development of popular music.
Born in New York City to a prosperous Jewish family, Rodgers attended the same public school as Bennett Cerf. While studying at Columbia University, he met his writing partner, Lorenz Hart. After dabbling in amateur composition for the Varsity Show, a student-run production, Rodgers left Columbia University to seriously pursue music at the Institute of Musical Art, known today as Juilliard. Faced with great pressure, Rodgers considered quitting âthe bizâ to sell childrenâs underwear. However, following the success of The Garrick Gaieties, which featured the hit tune "Manhattan," Rodgers and Hart became a Broadway songwriting force.