During his lifetime, Alan Jay Lerner received every imaginable award in American musical theater, and rightly so: As the lyricist of such astonishing Broadway successes as Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, Gigi, and Camelot, he was one of its architects. He was also one of its last greats, never quite able to regain his footing once the face of Broadway changed for good in the 1960s. Here, noted scholar of musical theater Edward Jablonski tells the story of Lerner's career and of his personal life, filling in the cracks purposely left open in Lerner's own autobiography. A well-off child of the Depression, Lerner was born in New York City, the son of the founder and president of Lerner Stores. Following an education in England and at Harvard, he ended up in New York, where he wrote advertising copy, radio scripts, and spring gambols for the Lambs Club. While lunching at the Lambs one day, he was approached by composer Frederick Loewe, who asked Lerner if he would like to work with him - and thus began a celebrated collaboration. Lerner also worked with a roll call of Broadway's and Hollywood's best, with varying degrees of success: Fred Astaire and Jane Powell (Royal Wedding), Kurt Weill (Love Life), Burton Lane (On a Clear Day You Can See Forever), Leonard Bernstein (1600 Pennsylvania Avenue), and, of course, Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews (My Fair Lady). He experienced the vertiginous highs of being at Broadway's pinnacle: My Fair Lady ran for 2,717 performances in New York, establishing Lerner's reputation as a master of urbane, highly literate songwriting. But when his money ran out - as did the Broadway for which he had been born - his life soured, and, by all accounts, it was something he himself failed to realize. Compelled to keep working by a nervous drive and a stubborn perfectionism, Lerner in later years wrote lyrics for some famously troubled productions. His personal life became just as tangled: All eight of his marriages ended in acrimonious and well-publicized dissolutions, and he was an anxiety-ridden spendthrift to the end.