Irving Berlin (1888 - 1989)
Born Israel Baline, the son of a cantor, in Russia in 1888, Irving Berlin moved with his family to New York in 1893. He worked as a song plugger, and progressed to appear on stage with his own songs. He came to achieve phenomenal success with songs, revues and musical comedies, in spite of his alleged inability to read music or to play the piano in any key but F sharp. His achievement is typified by White Christmas, among the most popular of all such songs.