Irving Berlin

1888 – 1989   Songwriter, Producer, Philanthropist

Born in what is now Belarus, Berlin came to the USA as a boy. Orphaned, he wound up singing in the streets for coins. He eventually got a job as a singing waiter, where his tunes were noticed and he began to write music. In 1911, his Alexander’s Ragtime Band took off, selling over a million copies. He broadened his career onto Broadway, writing music for shows, opened his own publishing house and started his own theatre. Devoted to his adopted country, Berlin served in the US Army in WW1 and, with WW2 looming, he wrote God Bless America, destined to be one of the most popular songs of all time. Berlin donated the royalties of that song to the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides, providing them over time with more than $10 million in funding. Similar arrangements were made with other songs for the Red Cross, Navy Relief, March of Dimes, etc. Berlin also wrote the perennial favourite,White Christmas. Berlin has been called the most influential U.S. songwriter of the century.

Munn Lodge No. 190, New York.

Quote

“Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working twenty-four hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.”