Eric Maschwitz

Albert Eric Maschwitz ( born June 10, 1901 in Birmingham, United Kingdom, † 27 October 1969 in London ) was a British entertainer, lyricist, author, and television producer. Maschwitz often used the stage name Holt Marvell.

Life and work

Eric Maschwitz was a descendant in the sixth generation of the 1729 -born Züllichau / Silesia Johann Gottlob Maschwitz. He already wrote the age of 13 his first drama and studied at various colleges in Cambridge afterwards. In the early 1920s he began his career as a stage entertainer and as a writer, where he first wrote mainly short stories and worked as a ghostwriter. In 1926 he went to the BBC, where he hosted a radio show ( " In Town Tonight" ), and later a television show ( "The Black and White Minstrel Show"). Since 1927 he was editor of the program magazine " Radio Times " - a position he gave up when he rose at the BBC 1933 Variety Director.

His longest gained fame Eric Maschwitz as librettist. For "Spread It Abroad", a London revue, he wrote in 1936, together with Jack Strachey the text to the song " These Foolish Things". The set to music by Harry Link verses were sung by Dorothy Dickson, who at that time was the most renowned musical stars in Europe. 1944 Frank Sinatra took the song to his repertoire and made him world famous. 1940 came the second major international song out to the Maschwitz the text had written: "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square". The music was by Manning Sherwin, and the song was used initially for the musical " New Faces " where he (the mother of Jane Birkin ) was sung by Judy Campbell. Later, the song became popular through the interpretation of Vera Lynn. Soon after, the song was also in the repertoire of Nat King Cole, Glen Miller, Harry Connick Jr. and Sonny Collins, later of The Manhattan Transfer input. In addition, Maschwitz wrote the libretti and songs for numerous other musicals, of which "Zip Goes a Million " (1951) was the most successful.

1939 Maschwitz went to Hollywood, where MGM took him as a scriptwriter under contract. Together with RC Sherriff and Claudine West, he wrote the book for the staged by Sam Wood destiny movie "Goodbye, Mr. Chips " (1939 ), the authors earned an Oscar nomination. That same year, MGM produced and directed by Reinhold Schünzel the musical " balalaika ", for whose screenplay Maschwitz the template had delivered.

During the Second World War, Eric Maschwitz was used in the Intelligence Corps of the British Army and was Chief Broadcasting Officer in the 21st Army Group. He left the army with the rank of Lieutenant - later Colonel.

1958 returned Maschwitz back to BBC television, where he became head of the entertainment division and implement his conviction tried that the task of the BBC did not exist in the cultural education, but in the entertainment of the audience. In 1963 he left the BBC and went to the private television ITV

Eric Maschwitz was (according to other sources: 1945; divorce) 1926-1940 married to British actress Hermione Gingold and his second wife, the American actress Phyllis Gordon. From 1931 to 1938 he had a relationship with Anna May Wong.

Papers and publications by Eric Maschwitz (selection)

Musicals ( libretto and lyrics ):


  • The Passionate clowns. The Story of a Modern Witch, ( Duckworth ) 1927 (novel)
  • No Chip on My Shoulder, London (Herbert Jenkins ), 1957 ( autobiography )
  • Thirteen for Dinner ( Comedy )