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Arthur Freed

Arthur Grossman

Lyricist, Film Producer, Pianist, Vaudevillian

(1894 - 1973)

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Arthur Freed was a highly successful lyricist whose first hit was “I Cried for You” (1923). He teamed with Nacio Herb Brown for Hollywood Music Box Revue of 1928, which produced “Singin’ in the Rain,” and they scored The Broadway Melody of 1929, which won an Academy Award for Best Picture.

After two follow-ups to that film, in 1936 and 1938, Freed was itching to produce movies. He convinced Louis B. Mayer to purchase the rights to The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum, and Mayer made him associate producer. But Freed’s genius in selecting E.Y. (Yip) Harburg and Harold Arlen to create the lyrics and music for the film put his stamp on it. He went on to produce several Judy Garland/Mickey Rooney vehicles, Academy Award winners An American in Paris and Gigi and many other hits.

His legendary coterie of musical colleagues at MGM, known as the “Freed Unit” (the subject of a documentary called Musicals Great Musicals: the Arthur Freed Unit at MGM, is often credited with lending a distinctive sound to the Hollywood musical. However, Freed’s success as a producer didn’t stop him from writing, and in 1952 he teamed again with Brown to score the quintessential musical Singin’ in the Rain.

- Sandra Burlingame

The Sound of the Movies: Porter & Freed

Various Artists

Broadway Melody Of 1936

Harry Stockwell, Buddy Ebsen, Una Merkel, Eleanor Powell, Jack Benny, Frances Langford

Hollywood, Vol. 1

Various Artists

Hollywood, Vol. 2

Various Artists

Terrie Richards: I Cried for You

Terrie Richards, Harry Allen, Howard Alden

Singin' in the Rain (1952 Film Soundtrack)

Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor, Debbie Reynolds
Reading and Viewing

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Hugh Fordin

M-G-M's Greatest Musicals: The Arthur Freed Unit

Da Capo Press

Charles King, Anita Page, Bessie Love

The Broadway Melody of 1929 (Special Edition)


Judy Garland, Frank Morgan

The Wizard of Oz (1939)


Gene Kelly, Leslie Caron, Oscar Levant, Georges Guétary, Nina Foch

An American in Paris

Warner Home Video


Leslie Caron, Maurice Chevalier, Louis Jourdan, Hermione Gingold, Eva Gabor


Warner Home Video


Gene Kelly, Donald O'Connor,Debbie Reynolds

Singin' in the Rain (Two-Disc Special Edition) (1952)



Musicals Great Musicals: the Arthur Freed Unit at MGM (1996)


Mickey Rooney, Judy Garland

Babes in Arms

MGM (Video & DVD)


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