Note: Oscar Hammerstein – portrait // Hammerstein // Oscar hammerstein wife
Hammerstein contributed the lyrics to 850 songs, according to The Complete Lyrics of Oscar Hammerstein II, edited by Amy Asch. Some well-known songs are "Ol' Man River", "Can't Help Lovin' That Man" and "Make Believe" from Show Boat; "Indian Love Call" from Rose-Marie; "People Will Say We're in Love" and "Oklahoma" (which has been the official state song of Oklahoma since 1953) from Oklahoma!; "Some Enchanted Evening", from South Pacific; "Getting to Know You" and "Shall We Dance" from The King and I; and the title song as well as "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" from The Sound of Music.
Several albums of Hammerstein's musicals were named to the "Songs of the Century" list as compiled by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), the National Endowment for the Arts, and Scholastic Corporation:
- The Sound of Music — # 36
- Oklahoma! — # 66
- South Pacific — # 224
- The King and I — # 249
- Show Boat — # 312
Awards and legacy
Hammerstein won two Oscars for best original song—in 1941 for "The Last Time I Saw Paris" in the film Lady Be Good, and in 1945 for "It Might as Well Be Spring" in State Fair. In 1950, the team of Rodgers and Hammerstein received The Hundred Year Association of New York's Gold Medal Award "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York."
Hammerstein won eight Tony Awards, six for lyrics or book, and two as producer of the Best Musical (South Pacific and The Sound of Music). Rodgers and Hammerstein began writing together before the era of the Tonys: Oklahoma! opened in 1943 and Carousel in 1945, and the Tony Awards were not awarded until 1947. They won a special Pulitzer Prize in 1944 for Oklahoma! and, with Joshua Logan, the annual Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1950 for South Pacific. The Oscar Hammerstein II Center for Theater Studies at Columbia University was established in 1981 with a $1-million gift from his family.
His advice and work influenced Stephen Sondheim, a friend of the Hammerstein family from childhood. Sondheim has attributed his success in theater, and especially as a lyricist, directly to Hammerstein's influence and guidance.
The Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre is presented annually. The York Theatre Company in New York City is the Administrator of the award. The 2009 winners were Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Past awardees are composers such as Stephen Sondheim and performers such as Carol Channing. The 2010 award went to Thomas Meehan.
Oscar Hammerstein was a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame.