Born in 1904, Moss Hart was raised in the Bronx and Brooklyn and as a teenager worked as an office boy for the theatrical producer Augustus Pitou. It was while working for the producer that Hart wrote THE HOLD-UP MAN or THE BELOVED BANDIT. Hart’s big success, his collaboration with playwright-director George S. Kaufman on his own original play about Hollywood, ONCE IN A LIFETIME, opened on Broadway in 1930. The two men went on to collaborate on a series of plays including MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG (1934); YOU CAN’T TAKE IT WITH YOU (for which they won the Pulitzer Prize, and the film version by Frank Capra won the Academy Award for Bes Picture in 1939) and I’D RATHER BE RIGHT (both in 1937); THE FABULOUS INVALID (1938), THE AMERICAN WAY and THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER (both in 1939); and GEORGE WASHINGTON SLEPT HERE (1940).
During this period Hart also collaborated with Irving Berlin on the musical FACE THE MUSIC (1933) and the revue AS THOUSANDS CHEER (1933), and wrote the book to Cole Porter’s score for the musical JUBILEE (1935). Hart wrote the book for the 1941 musical LADY IN THE DARK, which he also directed, with a score by Kurt Weill and Ira Gershwin. He was also the playwright and director of WINGED VICTORY, a tribute to the Air Force (1943), CHRISTOPHER BLAKE (1946), LIGHT UP THE SKY (1948) and THE CLIMATE OF EDEN (1952).
His film work includes the screenplays for GENTLEMAN’S AGREEMENT (1947 Academy Award for Best Picture), HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN (1952), A STAR IS BORN (1954) and PRINCE OF PLAYERS (1955), among others. In 1956, Hart directed Lerner and Loewe’s MY FAIR LADY, one of the greatest successes of musical theatre history, for which he won both the Tony and New York Drama Critics Awards for Best Director. Hart collaborated with Lerner and Loewe a second time on the musical CAMELOT (1960), after which he had begun to work on what he
called a ‘comedy of manners’ when he was stricken suddenly with heart failure in 1961.