Songwriter Yip Harburg commemorated

May 1st, 2005

USPS honor legendary songwriter Yip Harburg on 28th April with the release of a new stamp at a special dedication ceremony taking place in New York City.

Harburg won an Academy Award for 1939's "Over the Rainbow" which was used in The Wizard of Oz and went on to write over 600 songs for both theatre and film. Sadly, his liberal views on race were frowned upon in 1950s America and he found himself blacklisted by the film industry following his work on musicals which involved multiracial casts and in the case of "Cabin in the Sky", the first all-black Hollywood musical.

Having been shunned by the Hollywood community Harburg turned to writing for the theatre and played an integral part in transforming musicals from simple vehicles for stars into stories where plots, music and dance all integrate.

Harburg died in 1981 of a heart problem whilst driving on Sunset Boulevard. The stamp design combines a portrait taken by Barbara Bordnick in 1978 with the image of a rainbow and the lyric "Somewhere over the rainbow skies are blue" taken from "Over the Rainbow".

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