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Paul Francis Webster


(1907 - 1984)

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Paul Francis Webster may not be a familiar name, but his credits as a lyricist indicate it should be. After college, Navy service, and a stint as a dance instructor, he began his career as a lyricist. His first success was “Masquerade” (1932), written with John Jacob Loeb and popularized by Paul Whiteman’s Orchestra. This song should not to be confused with “The Masquerade Is Over,” written in 1939 by Allie Wrubel and Herb Magidson.

He went to Hollywood in 1934 and freelanced on several pictures, but his big successes were independent tunes: “I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good),” written with Duke Ellington (1941); “Baltimore Oriole (1942) and “Memphis in June” (1945), music by Hoagy Carmichael; and 1948’s “Black Coffee,” written with Reginald “Sonny” Burke, which was a hit for Sarah Vaughan, Julie London, and Peggy Lee.

The ‘50s were good to Webster. “The Loveliest Night of the Year,” adapted by Webster and Irving Aronson from a Juvenito Rosas composition for The Great Caruso (1951), won a gold disc for Mario Lanza. Webster and Sammy Fain won two Grammys--for “Secret Love” from Calamity Jane (1953) and for “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing,” the title of a 1955 film. They also wrote the title song for April Love starring Pat Boone who took the song to number one in 1957.

Webster’s collaboration with Dimitri Tiomkin on the title song for Friendly Persuasion (1956) earned an Oscar nomination, and their theme song for The Alamo, “Green Leaves of Summer,” was a popular hit in 1960. In 1965 Webster wrote “A Time for Love” with Johnny Mandel, and they won the Oscar for “The Shadow of Your Smile,” written for The Sandpiper. In 1966 he contributed lyrics to Maurice Jarre’s Lara’s theme, “Somewhere My Love,” for Doctor Zhivago.

Webster holds the record among lyricists for the most number of Academy Award nominations--sixteen.

- Sandra Burlingame

I Got It Good and That Ain't Bad

Duke Ellington/Ivie Anderson

Over the Rainbow

Little Jimmy Scott Includes "I Got It Bad..."

Black Coffee

Peggy Lee

Hoagy Sings Carmichael

Hoagy Carmichael Includes "Baltimore Oriole" and "Memphis in June"

Christine (1960 Original Broadway Cast)

Sammy Fain, Paul Francis Webster, Maureen O'Hara
Reading and Viewing

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Paul Francis Webster

The Songs Of Paul Francis Webster

Hal Leonard Corporation

Doris Day, Howard Keel

Calamity Jane (1953)


William Holden, Jennifer Jones, Torin Thatcher, Isobel Elsom, Murray Matheson

Love is a Many-Splendored Thing

20th Century Fox


Gary Cooper, Dorothy McGuire

Friendly Persuasion (1956)


John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, Angie Dickinson, Walter Brennan, Ward Bond

Rio Bravo

Warner Home Video


Julie Christie, Geraldine Chaplin, Omar Sharif

Doctor Zhivago

Turner Home Ent


Carlos Arruza, Frankie Avalon, Veda Ann Borg, Joseph Calleia, Linda Cristal

The Alamo

MGM (Video & DVD)


The Sandpiper [DVD] (1965)


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