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Paul Francis Webster (1907-1984). Courtesy The Guide to Musical Theatre.

Paul Francis Webster
Birth name Paul Francis Webster
Born December 20, 1907(1907-Template:MONTHNUMBER-20)
Origin New York City, United States
Died March 18, 1984(1984-Template:MONTHNUMBER-18) (aged 76)
Beverly Hills, California, United States
Occupations Lyricist

Paul Francis Webster (December 20, 1907 - March 18, 1984) was an American poet and lyricist who won three Academy Awards for Best Song and was nominated 16 times for the award.


Webster was born in New York City, the son of Blanche Pauline (Stonehill) and Myron Lawrence Webster. He was educated at the Horace Mann School in Riverdale, Bronx, New York]]), graduating in 1926. He then attended Cornell University from 1927 to 1928 and New York University from 1928 to 1930, leaving without receiving a degree. He worked on ships throughout Asia and then became a dance instructor at an Arthur Murray studio in New York City.[1][2]

By 1931, however, he turned his career direction to writing song lyrics. His first professional lyric was Masquerade (music by John Jacob Loeb) which became a hit in 1932, performed by Paul Whiteman.

In 1935 Twentieth Century Fox signed him to a contract to write lyrics for Shirley Temple's films, but shortly afterward he went back to freelance writing. His first hit was a collaboration in 1941 with Duke Ellington on the song "I Got It Bad (And That Ain't Good)".

After 1950, Webster worked mostly for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. He won two Academy Awards in collaboration with Sammy Fain, in 1953 and 1955, and another with Johnny Mandel in 1965. Altogether, sixteen of his songs received Academy Award nominations; among lyricists, he is second only to Johnny Mercer, who was nominated eighteen times, in number of nominations. In addition, a large number of his songs became major hits on the popular music charts.

Webster is the most successful songwriter of the 1950s on the U.K. charts. In 1967 he was asked to write the famed lyrics for the Spider-Man (theme song) of the television cartoon. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1972.[3] His papers are collected at Syracuse University Libraries.[4]

Webster continued writing through 1983.[2] He died in Beverly Hills, California, and is buried at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California.




"The Shadow of Your Smile" (1965) won the 1966 Grammy Award for Song of the Year.

Webster won the Academy Award for Best Original Song for:

  • "Secret Love" (1953)
  • "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing" (1955)
  • "The Shadow of Your Smile" (1965)

Webster had 13 other songs nominated for the Academy Award for Best Original Song:

  • "Remember Me to Carolina" (1944)
  • "Friendly Persuasion (Thee I Love)" (1956)
  • "April Love" (1957)
  • "A Certain Smile" (1958)
  • "A Very Precious Love" (1958)
  • "The Green Leaves of Summer" (1960)
  • "Love Theme from El Cid (The Falcon and the Dove)" (1961)
  • "Tender Is the Night" (1962)
  • "Love Song From Mutiny on the Bounty (Follow Me)" (1962)
  • "So Little Time" (1963)
  • "A Time for Love" (1966)
  • "Strange Are The Ways of Love" from the film The Stepmother (1972)
  • "A World that Never Was" from the film Half a House (1976)


  • Award-Winning Songs. New York: Robbins Music, 1964.
  • The Songs of Paul Francis Webster: The greatest standards. Milwaukee, WI: H. Leonard, 1992. ISBN 0-7935-0665-4

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[5]


Here is a partial list of songs for which Webster wrote the lyrics:[2][6][7]


April Love - Pat Boone


Peggy Lee - Black Coffee


Frankie Laine - The Green Leaves Of Summer


Tony Perkins & Audrey Hepburn - Green Mansions song


JOHNNY MATHIS ~ The Twelfth Of Never ~.wmv


Donny Osmond - "The Twelfth Of Never"

  • "Anastasia" (1956)
  • "Ballad Of The Alamo" (1960)
  • "April Love" (1957)
  • "Baltimore Oriole"
  • "Beloved" (1954)
  • "Billy-A-Dick" (1945)
  • "Black Coffee"
  • "The Black Hills Of Dakota"
  • "Blowing Wild (The Ballad Of Black Gold)" (1953)
  • "Boy on a Dolphin"
  • "The Brown-Skin Gal in the Calico Gown" (1941)
  • "A Certain Smile" (1958)
  • "Chocolate Shake" (1941)
  • "Days of Love" (1967)
  • "The Deadwood Stage (Whip-Crack-Away!)"
  • "Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief"
  • "Love Theme from El Cid (The Falcon and the Dove)" (1961)
  • "The First Snowfall"
  • "Friendly Persuasion (Thee I Love)" (1956)
  • "Guns of Navarone" (1961)
  • "How Green Was My Valley" (1957)
  • "How It Lies, How It Lies, How It Lies!"
  • "I Got it Bad (And That Ain't Good)" (1941)
  • "I'll Remember Tonight"
  • "I'll Walk with God" (1954)
  • "Invitation" (1952)
  • "Jump for Joy"
  • "Just Blew in from the Windy City" (1953)
  • "The Lamplighter's Serenade" (1942)
  • "Like Young" (1958)
  • "Love is a Many-Splendored Thing" (1955)
  • "The Loveliest Night of the Year" (1950)
  • "Love Song From Mutiny on the Bounty (Follow Me)" (1962)
  • "Man on Fire"
  • "Masquerade" (1931)
  • "Maverick"
  • "The Mood I'm In" (co-written with Pete King)
  • "My Moonlight Madonna"
  • "Padre"
  • "Rainbow on the River" (1936)
  • "Remember Me to Carolina" (1944)
  • "Rio Bravo" (1959)
  • "Secret Love" (1953)
  • "The Shadow of Your Smile" (1965)
  • "Somewhere My Love" (1966) (The lyrics, which are Webster's original work, are sung to the melody of "Lara's Theme" from the film Doctor Zhivago)
  • "The Song Angels Sing" 1951
  • "Song of Green Mansions (1959)
  • "So Little Time" (1963)
  • "The Song of Raintree County" (1957)
  • "Spider-Man" (1967)
  • "Strange Are The Ways of Love" from the film The Stepmother (1972)
  • "Summertime in Heidelburg" (1954)
  • "Tender Is the Night" (1962)
  • There's a Rising Moon (1954)
  • There They Are
  • "There's Never Been Anyone Else But You"
  • "A Time for Love" (1966)
  • "Too Beautiful To Last" (1971)
  • "The Twelfth of Never"
  • "Two Cigarettes in the Dark" (1934)
  • "Veni Vidi Vici"
  • "Virgins Wrapped in Cellophane" (1932)
  • "Who Are We?"
  • "The Winds of Chance" (1969)
  • "A Woman's Touch" (1953)
  • "A World that Never Was" from the film Half a House (1976)
  • "You Was"

See also[]


  • Hill, Tony L. "Paul Francis Webster, 1907-1984", in Dictionary of Literary Biography 265. Detroit: Gale Research, 2002.


  1. Paul Francis Webster on The Guide to Musical Theatre
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Paul Francis Webster". Michael Feinstein's American Songbook. Michael Feinstein Great American Songbook Initiative. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  3. Paul Francis Webster at the Songwriters Hall of Fame
  4. "Paul Francis Webster Papers". Syracuse University Libraries. Syracuse University. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  5. Search results = au:Paul Francis Webster, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, Oct. 29, 2015.
  6. "Paul Francis Webster Song Catalog". Songwriters Hall of Fame. Songwriters Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 
  7. "Songs Written by Paul Francis Webster". VF Entertainment. Retrieved 2015-01-12. 

External links[]

Poems and lyrics
Audio / video
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