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George David Weiss (born April 9, 1921, New York Citymarker, New Yorkmarker) is an Americanmarker songwriter and President of the Songwriters Guild of America.


He was born in a Jewish family, and originally planned a career as a lawyer or accountant, but out of a love for music he was led to attend the Juilliard School of Musicmarker, developing his skills in writing and arranging. After leaving school, he became an arranger for such big bands as those ofStan Kenton, Vincent Lopez, and Johnny Richards. Early on in his music career, he played woodwind and violin in various dance bands before his military service during World War II.

He was a very prolific songwriter during the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, with many of his songs reaching high places on the charts. Although he worked with many collaborators, the largest proportion of his well-known songs were written with Bennie Benjamin.

Weiss contributed to a number of film scores: Murder, Inc. (1960), Gidget Goes to Rome (1953), Mediterranean Holiday (1964), and Mademoiselle (1966).

Collaborations on three Broadwaymarker musicals were among his compositions. Mr. Wonderful was written in 1956 with Jerry Bock and Larry Holofcener. The Broadway production starred Sammy Davis, Jr. First Impressions was based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. It was written in 1959, with Bo Goldman and Glenn Paxton. Maggie Flynn was written in 1968, with Hugo Peretti and Luigi Creatore. It was set in New York during the American Civil War, and the Broadway production starred Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy. In addition, Weiss and Will Severin composed the family musical, A Tale of Cinderella, which was first presented in December 1994 at the Theater Institute in Troy, New Yorkmarker, and filmed for presentation on PBS.

His music has been recorded by such as Tom Jones, Mel Tormé, Elvis Presley, Dinah Washington, The Stylistics, Tennessee Ernie Ford, and Sammy Davis Jr. Weiss was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984.

In 2006 a court settlement was reached regarding royalties for the worldwide rights of the song "The Lion Sleeps Tonight," which was based on a 1939 song by Solomon Linda. While Solomon Linda was successful, The Tokens were not. They failed to earn any writing credit for their four new original bars of music in the 1961 hit. The case was thrown out of court based on statute of limitations.

Notable songs


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