The King of Tin Pan Alley
Irving Berlin, born on May 11, 1888 in Tyumen, Russia under the name Israel Baline, changed his name when, after publishing his first song, "Marie from Sunny Italy" in 1907, his name was misspelled as I. Berlin. He was very successful, penning many popular tunes, one of which, "White Christmas," is still very popular today. Another of his most famous songs is "God Bless America," which has been deemed an unofficial national anthem.
Talented in many areas, Berlin was also a singer, pianist, and playwright. He wrote Broadway musicals such as Annie Get Your Gun, and sang some of his own songs. In 1962, he finally retired after producing the musical Mr. President. He died on September 22, 1989 at the age of 101.