Carolyn Leigh

Carolyn Leigh (August 21, 1926 – November 19, 1983)[1] was an American lyricist for Broadway, film, and popular songs. She is best known as the writer with partner Cy Coleman of the pop standards "Witchcraft" and "The Best Is Yet to Come". With Johnny Richards, she wrote the million-seller "Young at Heart" for the film of the same name, starring Frank Sinatra.

Carolyn Leigh
Born(1926-08-21)August 21, 1926
OriginNew York City, U.S.
DiedNovember 19, 1983(1983-11-19) (aged 57)
New York City, U.S.
Associated actsCy Coleman


Leigh was born to a Jewish family[2] in the Bronx, New York, graduated from Hunter College High School, Queens College, and New York University.[1]

Leigh worked as a copy writer for radio stations and advertising agencies.[3] Always writing stories and poems, in 1951, when urged to write songs by a musical publisher who gave her a contract, she wrote "I'm Waiting Just for You" with Henry Glover, and two years later, "Young at Heart."[4]

Leigh's lyrics for Broadway shows include Peter Pan, Wildcat, Little Me, and How Now, Dow Jones.[1] The last was derived from an original idea of Leigh's, though Max Shulman wrote the script. She provided lyrics for the scores to the films The Cardinal in 1963 and Father Goose in 1964. In 1969 she wrote the lyrics for the musical Gatsby, with the score by Lee Pockriss and the book by Hugh Wheeler.[5] She also wrote the lyrics for two other unproduced musicals, two other unproduced shows, Caesar’s Wife, again with music by Pockriss, about Julius Caesar's third wife, Calpurnia, and Juliet, based on the Fellini movie Juliet of the Spirits, with music by Morton Gould.[6]

At the time of her death, Leigh was working with Marvin Hamlisch on the musical Smile.[4] Leigh died on November 19, 1983, of a heart attack.[1] She was divorced from David Cunningham Jr.[when?] She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1985.[4]

Tony Award nominationsEdit


  1. ^ a b c d e Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1458. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ Tampa Jewish Federation: "Jews in the News: Mike Nichols, Yael Grobglas and Dominic Fumusa" retrieved March 18, 2017 |"The musical was penned by five Jewish theater legends, all now deceased. Lyrics by: BETTY COMDEN, ADOLPH GREENE, and CAROLYN LEIGH — with music by: MARK CHARLAP and JULE STYNE."
  3. ^ "Songwriters Hall of Fame - Carolyn Leigh Exhibit Home". Archived from the original on May 14, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c Carolyn Leigh, Lyricist for Peter Pan, Dies", The New York Times, November 21, 1983, p. D20
  5. ^ The New York Times. A Musical Version of ‘Gatsby,’ Four Decades Late by Rachel Lee Harris, September 29, 2011.
  6. ^ The New York Times, Unearthing Lost Gems in Career of Lyricist ‘Unsung Carolyn Leigh’ Reveals Charm of a Gatsby Musical by Stephen Holden, April 8, 2014.

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