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Hammerstein, William

William Hammerstein (1918-2001) was born in New York City, first in the fourth generation of a family prominent in the American theatre for over one hundred years. He began his professional career as stage manager at the Saint Louis Municipal Opera, moving on to Broadway and road productions. During WWII he served with the U.S Navy in the South Pacific. After the war he resumed work in the theatre as a production manager, working for producer Leland Hayward, directors Joshua Logan, Garson Kanin, and others. Hammerstein established and managed the New York City Center Light Opera Company, for which he was recognized with a special Tony Award in 1957. On Broadway he produced Neil Simon's first play, COME BLOW YOUR HORN, and Garson Kanin's A GIFT OF TIME starring Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland. As a director, his credits included numerous productions at New York City Center, the 1956 London premiere of FANNY, and the 1979 Broadway and U.S. National Tour of OKLAHOMA! For television he produced THE BELL TELEPHONE HOUR, THE ARTHUR GODFREY SHOW and various network specials. Until shortly before his death, Hammerstein was active in the management of the theatrical and music publishing interests included in the legacy of his father, Oscar Hammerstein II, and was the Hammerstein family representative with The Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization. Formerly, he was president of The Hammerstein Music and Theatre Company and The Boston Music Company, Chairman of Williamson Music and a board member of E.B. Marks Music. He was a director of the American Theatre Wing and served on the Tony Awards Administration and Management Committees.

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      Did you know? Oscar Hammerstein II came from a family of theater veterans, including father William Hammerstein (manager of the Victoria Theatre) uncle Arthur Hammerstein (Broadway producer) and of course namesake grandfather Oscar Hammerstein I, theater builder and impresario of the Manhattan Opera House.
      Did you know that both Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II married women named Dorothy, and both had fathers named William? This last fact lead Rodgers & Hammerstein to name their music publishing company Williamson Music Company when they founded it in 1945.
      In 1954, a Broadway revival of CAROUSEL opened at City Center, directed by Oscar Hammerstein II's son, William Hammerstein.