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Roy Webb (1888 - 1982)

Roy Webb was born in New York City on 3 October, 1888, three years after his brother Kenneth, who also had a long career in show business and was a distinct influence on his younger sibling. The boys shared a creative urge that would lead them to careers in the theater, radio, film and television.

Webb studied drawing and painting at the Art Student’s League in Manhattan for five years, and after high school he studied at Columbia University where, according to Christopher Palmer, Webb "was fed a diet of Bach and Beethoven: his teacher used the Bach fugues as a basis for his instruction, and Webb would later have cause to be grateful for the rigour of this early training."

Webb graduated from Columbia in 1910. He and Kenneth were both active musically by 1914, when they signed the original charter that formed ASCAP. Webb wrote popular songs in this period (none survive) before enlisting in the Navy during World War I. He was attending officers school when the Armistice was signed in 1918. Following an honorable discharge from the Navy he went to work for Kenneth as an assistant director in motion pictures.

Columbia undergraduate Richard Rodgers got to know the Webbs as the brothers retained active alumni ties with their alma mater, returning to the university in the early 1920s to help stage the annual undergraduate Varsity Show.


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