Jack Lawrence was an American lyricist, composer, songwriter, and musician, who wrote the lyrics to the classic Disney songs: "Once Upon a Dream" with Sammy Fain for Sleeping Beauty and "Never Smile at a Crocodile" with Frank Churchill for an earlier draft of 1953's Peter Pan.
He was born in Brooklyn, New York to an Orthodox Jewish family of modest means. Lawrence wrote songs while still a child, but because of parental pressure after he graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School, he enrolled in the First Institute of Podiatry where he received a doctoral degree in 1932. The same year, his first song was published and he immediately decided to make a career of songwriting rather than podiatry. That song, "Play, Fiddle, Play", won international fame and he became a member of ASCAP that year at age 20. In the early 1940s, Lawrence and several fellow hitmakers formed a sensational review called "Songwriters on Parade", performing all across the Eastern seaboard on the Loew's and Keith circuits.
Lawrence joined the United States Maritime Service during World War II and wrote the official song of the Maritime Service and Merchant Marine, "Heave Ho! My Lads, Heave Ho!" as a lieutenant in 1943, while bandleader at Sheepshead Bay Maritime Service Training Station in New York.
One of Lawrence's first major songs after leaving the service was "Yes, My Darling Daughter", introduced by Dinah Shore. His song "If I Didn't Care" introduced the world to The Ink Spots. Lawrence's song "All or Nothing at All" was Frank Sinatra's first solo hit. Together with Richard Myers, Lawrence wrote "Hold My Hand", which was featured in the film Susan Slept Here and nominated for the 1954 Academy Award for Best Song.
His other composition include "Linda" "Chopsticks" (with Eliot Daniel), "Tenderly", "Sleepy Lagoon", "Music for Madame", "Delicado", "Bring on the Girls", "Foolin' Myself", "Sunrise Serenade", "With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair", "Sentimental Me", "The Johnson Rag", "I Confess", "What Will I Tell My Heart", "Nearer My Love to You", "Symphony", and he wrote English lyrics to songs, like "Passing By" (Vous qui Passez sans me Voir), "The Poor People of Paris" (La Goualante de Pauvre Jean), and most notably, "Beyond the Sea" (based on Charles Trenet's French language song "La Mer").
While contributing to films, like Born to Be Wild, The Old Barn Dance, Manhattan Merry-Go-Round, Outside of Paradise, Man from Music Mountain, The Private Affairs of Bel Ami, Under Western Stars, and Flame and the Flesh; Lawrence's primary credits came from Broadway with notable shows, like Courtin' Time, Ziegfeld Follies of 1957, Maybe Tuesday, and I Had a Ball featuring Buddy Hackett.
In later life, Lawrence was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1975. In 2004, he wrote memoir "They All Sang My Songs" and died on March 16, 2009 after a fall at his home in Redding, Connecticut.