Harold Arlen

February 15, 1905 – April 23, 1986

“He wasn’t as well known as some of us, but he was a better songwriter than most of us and he will be missed by all of us.”  – Irving Berlin

Harold Arlen was a composer and widely regarded as one of the most successful pop-song writers of all time. He worked with all the great lyricists including Johnny Mercer, Ted Koehler, Ira Gershwin and Yip Harburg. He is one of the most prominent contributors to the Great American Songbook.

Born in Buffalo, New York as Hyman Arluck, the aspiring pianist, vocalist and composer made his way east to New York City and by the time he was 24, had published his first hit, “Get Happy”, under the name Harold Arlen. More hits would follow: “I’ve Got the World on a String,” “Stormy Weather,” “Let’s Fall In Love” (all with Koehler) “Blues in the Night,” “That Old Black Magic,” “Accentuate the Positive” (all with Mercer) and so on and so on. He wrote Broadway scores and – perhaps most famously – songs for movies. In 1939, the world was introduced to Arlen and Harburg’s legendary soundtrack for The Wizard of Oz. “Over the Rainbow” from the film not only made a star out of Judy Garland, but remains to this day, one of the most popular and frequently recorded songs of all time.

In all, Harold Arlen wrote more than 500 songs over the course of his 60 year career. He was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1979. He lost his wife of 33 years to a brain tumor in 1970 and lived to the age of 81.


Ferncliff Cemetery – Hartsdale, NY

Specific Location

Hickory, Grave 1666; In the Hickory section, head south down the path toward the sign that reads Hickory Terrace, stop between the first short path that juts off to your right and the small tree to the south of it, Harold is buried in the second row to your left (east) from this spot.


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