July 15th: Rembrandt & Dorothy Fields

Earlier this week, Google posted a Doodle to celebrate the birthday of Dutch artist Rembrandt. This Doodle, coming about halfway through the year, seems like a good time to check in on some stats. Thus far in 2013, worldwide, 91 Doodles have been posted celebrating the birthday of an individual. Of these, 15, or 16%, have honored women. Just within the United States, there have been 18 Doodles, with 4 (22%) recognizing women.

What this means: Doodles are on track to be more representative of women’s contributions in 2013, but only slightly so. There’s still a long way to go!

Now, on to our regular contribution: a look at a Doodle-Worthy Woman who could have been honored on this day, film and Broadway songwriter Dorothy Fields.

Over the course of her prolific career, Fields wrote over 400 songs, including the Oscar-winning standard “The Way You Look Tonight.” She collaborated with some of the biggest names in Hollywood music and Broadway composing. Born on July 15, 1905, Fields was destined for show business: her father worked in comedy and on Broadway. She started out her career as a Broadway lyricist, and added film lyrics to her portfolio in the 1930s.

A postage stamp recognizing the career of Dorothy Fields.

A postage stamp recognizing the career of Dorothy Fields.

Fields’s work is pervasive in American popular music and on Broadway. She wrote lyrics for A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Sweet Charity, and Annie Get Your Gun, plus for the songs “On the Sunny Side of the Street” and “I’m In the Mood for Love.” She worked steadily and successfully over the course of 5 decades and, when she passed away in 1974, it was hours after attending a rehearsal for a show to which she wrote the lyrics.

In addition to sharing the Oscar (with Jerome Kern, who wrote the music for Fields’ lyrics) for “The Way You Look Tonight,” Fields was nominated for another Best Original Song Oscar. And on top of that, of course, her work was nominated for and won Tony Awards and a Grammy. She is an inductee to the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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