Herbert Magidson is honored by the Song Writers Hall of Fame as the lyricist of many popular songs that he wrote for movies and Broadway musicals. Magidson won the first ever Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1934 for the song "The Continential" that he co-wrote with composer Con Conrad for the movie ''The Gay Divorcee''. During the 1930's and 1940's Magidson was a noted lyricist for 23 movies and four Broadway shows. Among his most popular songs are "How Long Has This Been Going On", "Enjoy Yourself", "Ma Hey's Making Eyes at Me" and the theme song for "Gone With the Wind". His lyrics have been sung by Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Peggy Lee and many other artists on over a hundred albums.
Herbert A. Magidson was born in 1906 in Braddock, Pa. His parents owned a second hand furniture store on Braddock Avenue. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in journalism. In addition to his studies Magidson wrote material and song lyrics for music reviews and vaudeville performers. In 1928 Magidson moved to New York City when singer Sophia Tucker hired him to write lyrics for her. After working one year for a New York music publisher, Herb moved to Hollywood. He signed a contract with Warner Brothers in 1929 to write lyrics for movie musicals.Magidson went to work quickly in Hollywood writing lyrics for four movies in 1929: The Show of Shows, Little Johnny Jones, The Forward Pass, and The Time, The Place and the Girl. Between 1929 to 1933 he wrote song lyrics that were used in 15 movies.
In 1934 Madigson wrote lyrics for several songs in the film "The Gay Dirvorce" that starred Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Astaire sang to Ginger the words "An invitation to moonlight and romance. It's quite the fashion, the Continental Because you tell of your love while you dance " in the Academy Award winning dance number "The Continential". Magidson received Oscar nominations for ''Say a Prayer” for the 1943 film "Boys Over There" and "Hers to Hold" and ''I'll Buy That Dream'' from the 1945 film "Sing Your Way Home".
Other of Magidson's best-known songs include "Midnight in Paris" (1935), "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" (1936), "Gone With the Wind" (1937), "Music, Maestro, Please" (1938), "How Long Has This Been Going On?" (1939), "I'll Buy That Dream" (1945), and "I'll Dance at Your Wedding" (1947). His last hit "Happiness," came in 1951. Magidson collaborated on lyrics with Con Conrad, Allie Wrubel, Carl Sigman, Sammy Fain, and fellow Pittsburgher Sam H. Stept.
Magidson’s lyrics are included in the films for The Show of Shows (1929), No, No, Nanette (1930), Gift of Gab (1934), The Gay Divorcee (1934), Here's to Romance (1935), George White's 1935 Scandals (1935), King Solomon of Broadway (1935), Miss Pacific Fleet (1935), The Great Ziegfeld (1936), Hats Off (1936).
Herb died in 1986 at the age of 79. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1980.