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Sammy Fain’s Many-Splendored Thing

Lawrence Bush
June 16, 2017

Songwriter and film composer Sammy Fain (Feinberg) was born in New York on this date in 1902, the son of a cantor. Fain was a self-taught pianist who played by ear. A frequent collaborator with Irving Kahal, Fain’s best-known songs included “Let a Smile Be Your Umbrella,” “Tender Is the Night,” “You Brought a New Kind of Love to Me,” and “I’ll Be Seeing You.” Fain composed music for more than thirty films over the course of three decades and was nominated for the Best Original Song Oscar nine times, winning twice, with “Secret Love” and “Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing.” He also contributed songs to numerous Broadway shows, including Hellzapoppin (1938), George White’s Scandals (1939), Flahooley (1951), and Christine (1960). In 1972, Fain was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. To see two figure skaters performing to Mel Tormé’s version of “I’ll Be Seeing You,” look below. To see Fain performing in 1938 as “the crooning composer,” look below that.

“I’ll be seeing you
In all the old, familiar places
That this heart of mine embraces
All day through” —Irving Kahal and Sammy Fain

​​​​Lawrence Bush edited Jewish Currents from 2003 until 2018. He is the author of Bessie: A Novel of Love and Revolution and Waiting for God: The Spiritual Explorations of a Reluctant Atheist, among other books. His new volume of illustrated Torah commentaries, American Torah Toons 2, is scheduled for publication this year.