Partner Roger Edens
Westwood Memorial Park Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Leonard Gershe (June 10, 1922 – March 9, 2002) was an American playwright, screenwriter, and lyricist. Gershe, a writer in MGM's legendary Freed unit and a close friend of Roger Edens, later in life said he had never felt comfortable discussing his sexuality, his or anyone else's. The young, up-and-coming Gershe was reportedly uncomfortable with the association with the "Freed's Fairies." "Lennie's work was almost on the sidelines," said Lela Simone. "I have a feeling that was probably Lennie's wish. He did not want to, under any circumstances, be the protégé of a man who was more or less known as a homosexual... He did not want to be known as Roger's protégé." Nevertheless, Gershe did collaborate memorably with Edens on a number of projects, notably on Funny Face and the "Born in a Trunk" number for George Cukor's A Star is Born. They would remain close until Edens' death in 1970, with Gershe designated in Edens' will to coordinate the distribution of all his music, scores, and records.
Born in New York City, Gershe made his Broadway debut as a lyricist for the 1950 revue Alive and Kicking. He wrote the book for Harold Rome's musical stage adaptation of Destry Rides Again in 1959 and the play Butterflies Are Free in 1969. Later Gershe wrote the play Snacks for Tony Danza. He wrote the lyrics for the "Born in a Trunk" sequence from the Judy Garland/James Mason musical A Star Is Born. In the 1950s, Gershe wrote 10 scripts for the Ann Sothern sitcom Private Secretary. He also wrote a number of episodes of The Lucy Show. His screen credits include Funny Face, 40 Carats, and Butterflies Are Free. According to World of Wonder website writer Stephen Rutledge, Gershe had a long-term relationship with composer Roger Edens. Gershe died in Beverly Hills, California from complications from a stroke. He was 79 and was buried at the Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
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