Hammerstein, Oscar, 2d, 1895–1960, American lyricist and librettist, b. New York City, grad. Columbia, 1916; grandson of Oscar Hammerstein. His first success was Wildflower (1923), with music by Vincent Youmans. Thereafter, he collaborated with Rudolf Friml on Rose Marie (1924); with Jerome Kern on Sunny (1925) and Show Boat (1927); and with Sigmund Romberg on Desert Song (1926) and The New Moon (1928). With the composer Richard Rodgers he brought to the stage musicals such as Oklahoma! (1943; Pulitzer Prize), Carousel (1945), South Pacific (1949; Pulitzer Prize), and The King and I (1951)—all of which gave new distinction to the American musical through their integration of musical, dramatic, and dance elements. Hammerstein wrote the lyrics to many famous songs, including "The Last Time I Saw Paris" and "It Might As Well Be Spring," which won Academy Awards.
See biographies by D. Taylor (1953), S. Green (1963), J. F. Cone (1966), J. Hammond (1970), and H. Fordin (1977); A. Asch, ed., The Complete Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II (2008); E. Mordden, Rodgers and Hammerstein (1992); S. Citron, Wordsmiths (1995).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.