Al Dubin Biography

Al Dubin was a great Lyricist & Composer. Read on to know more about Al Dubin’s profile, childhood, life and timeline in this biography.

Al Dubin

Quick Facts

Also known as: Alexander Dubin (English)
Gender: Male
Birthday: 10 June 1891
Died: 11 February 1945
Nationality: American
Sun Sign: Gemini
Spouse/Ex-: Helen McCloy

Being from a non-musical family background, Al Dubin went on to become one of the greatest lyricists in the history of America. His lyrics were adapted by many Broadway shows and he is celebrated for the 1933 musical film “42nd Street” in collaboration with the composer Harry Warren. Warren and Dubin were successful in writing 60 hit songs for Warner Brothers. Dubin launched his career with music compositions for some silent movies and moved to become one of the first songwriters for talking movies.

Early Life & Career

Al Dubin was born on June 10, 1891 in Zurich, Switzerland to a family which had origins in Russia. When he was two Dubin’s family moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where his father worked as a medical doctor and his mother a science teacher. None of his parents wanted Dubin to pursue a career in music but Dubin, made his intentions clear. In school he used to skip classes to watch Broadway shows and was ousted from high school for inappropriate behavior and expelled from medical school in 1911. It was after that he decided to dedicate himself to music forever.
Towards 1926 he was writing music for silent films and was also hired for talking movies. He was among the first songwriters to be signed up for talking pictures. With Joseph Burke we wrote his famous "Tiptoe Through the Tulips," in 1929 and later collaborated with Harry Warren in 1932 to produce a decade long of hit songs. The duo wrote a prolific number of songs year after year. In 1935, the "Lullaby of Broadway” won the Academy Award as well. By 1940 Dubin joined hands with many composers including Jimmy McHugh, Will Grosz and Duke Ellington.
Dubin’s personal life was submerged in excessive eating, drinking and intake of drugs on occasion. This led to his early death at the age of 54 on February 11, 1945.

Major Works

Works for Broadway Shows
Charlot Revue (1925) – co-lyricist
Streets of Paris (1939) - lyricist
Star and Garter (1942) – lyricist
Sugar Babies (1979) - co-lyricist
42nd Street (1980 and 2001) – lyricist

Prominent Songs

"42nd Street"
“I Only Have Eyes for You”
"Lullaby of Broadway"
Villanova University alma mater and fight song ("V for Villanova")
"September in the Rain"
"Tiptoe through the Tulips" (1929)
"Boulevard of Broken Dreams"

Awards and Achievements

Dubin was inducted to the ‘Songwriters Hall of Fame’ in 1970
He also won the ‘Tony Award for Best Musical’ for 1981
"Lullaby of Broadway” which was written in collaboration with Harry Warren, won an Academy Award in 1935.

Famous Associations

Al Dubin was a close associate of the very famous composer and lyricist Harry Warren. They both composed more than 60 songs.


1891: Al Dubin was born in in Zurich, Switzerland, on June 10
1911: Dubin was expelled from the medical school in which he was enrolled.
1916: He wrote his first hit song "Twas Only an Irishman's Dream".
1926: He was writing music for silent films.
1929: "Tiptoe Through the Tulips" was written by him along with Joseph Burke.
1932: Dubin joined hands with the prominent composer and lyricist Harry Warren.
1935: "Lullaby of Broadway" co-written by Dubin and Harry Warren won an Academy Award.
1940: He collaborated with many other composers of his time. His health problems also began during this time.
1945: Dubin died of pneumonia and barbiturate poisoning on February 11 at the age of 54.

Citation Information

Article Title

Al Dubin Biography

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Last Updated

June 14, 2019

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