Wallowitch was born in the Methodist Hospital in South Philadelphia. He attended Edgar Allan Poe Elementary School, Vare Junior High School, Central High School and Temple University in Philadelphia. Wallowitch spent his youth in a desolate neighborhood in South Philadelphia, dreaming about moving to New York. He finally arrived there in his late teens to study classical piano at Juilliard. In order to survive, he played rehearsal piano for shows, among them Leonard Sillman's New Faces of '52, and began to play at the Duplex, a Greenwich Village saloon.
John Wallowitch was an American songwriter and cabaret performer. He wrote over 2,000 songs; his works include "Bruce", "I See the World Through Your Eyes", "Back on the Town" and "Mary's Bar". For over 50 years he played and sang a catalogue of original songs at nightspots around New York City. John Wallowitch lived and performed in New York City with his longtime partner, Bertram Ross, until Ross's death on Apr 20, 2003, at 82 years old. Wallowitch died on August 15, 2007 in New York City.
Bertram Ross & John Wallowitch are buried together at Kensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York (Actors Fund Lot).
"In a matter of weeksHis first professional appearance was on the Lithuanian Furniture Company Radio Hour (Station WHAT) on which he rendered Irving Berlin's "So Help Me."
With the modern techniques
For improving physiques
They have altered their beaks
And they've lifted their cheeks
And now everyone speaks
In society's cliques
Of the changes that science has wrought
Of the changes that money has bought!"
Wrote Stephen Holden in The New York Times: "While Noël Coward is no longer around to set the standards for a certain kind of sophisticated songwriting sensibility, Mr. Wallowitch nimbly carries the torch." He displays his predilection for Coward-like wit and satire on such songs as "Cosmetic Surgery", in which he sums up the surgical predilections of friends who are "getting younger than ever" with such dexterity.
He often wrote about growing up in Philadelphia, and of life with his family. "I See the World Through Your Eyes" is a remembrance of Wallowitch's late brother, photographer Edward Wallowitch (associated with Andy Warhol). "Manhattan, You're A Dream" pays tribute to Wallowitch's mother.
During the 1960s he met three women who would become his greatest champions: singer-pianist Blossom Dearie for whom Wallowitch's song "Bruce" is a favorite standard; Dixie Carter of Designing Women who recorded a collection of Wallowitch songs in 1984; and Joanne Beretta. Wallowitch's compositions have also been recorded by Shirley Horn, Tony Bennett, Berri Blair, John Dubois, Marlene VerPlanck, Lynn Lobban, and many others. Among the many fine performers who sing his songs are Lynn Lobban, Alice Levine, Eric Comstock, Yvonne Sherwell, Sue Gandy, Joanne Beretta and Michael Belliveau.
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Wallowitch was part of a popular cabaret act with his longtime partner, Bertram Ross. The pair sang in nightspots ranging from London's Pizza on the Park to the Ballroom in New York City. A CD of their performance cabaret, “Wallowitch and Ross” (Miranda Music) was released in 2003 to accompany the documentary film of the couple, "Wallowitch & Ross: This Moment."
As a solo cabaret entertainer, Wallowitch performed throughout the world and was famous for his long-running hit revue, The World of Wallowitch. He was the recipient of both the MAC and Bistro Awards for Composer of the Year.
Wallowitch performed and recorded the song "Hillary Oh Hillary," for Hillary Clinton during her run for U.S. Senate. Henry and Bobbie Shaffner, veteran members of ASCAP, wrote the lyrics and set them to the tune of the old Groucho Marx song, "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady". Wallowitch and the Shaffners were inspired to write it after Clinton's six-hour long visit to Wallowitch's New York studio, where he performed for the former first lady. Later, he translated the Shaffner's lyrics to Yiddish, to create a version called "Hillary, Oy! Hillary!"
John Wallowitch lived and performed in New York City with his longtime partner, Bertram Ross., until Ross's death on Apr 20, 2003, at 82 years old.
Wallowitch died on August 15, 2007 in New York City.
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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