Broadway Composers: Kalmar and Ruby

Kalmar and Ruby are another famous songwriting team of the first half of the 20th Century.

The team consisted of lyricist Bert Kalmar and composer Harry Ruby.

Harry Ruby

Bert Kalmar was born on February 10, 1884 in New York City. Harry Ruby was also born in New York City, on October 29, 1895.  Both men began on the vaudeville circuit.

Kalmar hired Ruby as a “song plugger”, and as a result of a knee injury that stopped him from dancing professionally turned to writing songs full-time.

Ruby, who had gotten a job at the firm of Waterson, Berlin and Snyder, got Kalmar a job at the same firm writing song lyrics. Before World War I, he had begun to write lyrics for a number of different composers.

One of the composers was Ruby, who had also had a number of collaborators.  The men saw a strong compatibility between the two, and by 1920, Kalmar and Ruby recognized that they should form a permanent songwriting team.

Bert Kalmar

Kalmar and Ruby also wrote comedy for stage and screen for Wheeler & Woolsey, Eddie Cantor and the Marx Brothers.

Kalmar and Ruby film credits include Animal Crackers, The Kid from Spain, Duck Soup, Bright Lights and Walking on Air to name a few.

Some of their popular songs include I Wanna Be Loved By You, Come to Papa, Where Did You Get that Girl?, Who’s Sorry Now?, Thinking of You, I Love You So Much and Nevertheless {I’m in Love with You}.

Together, Kalmar and Ruby formed a successful team until Kalmar’s death in 1947.