Did George Gershwin Get Married

Did George Gershwin Get Married

Did George Gershwin Get Married -: George Gershwin, a name synonymous with timeless melodies like “Rhapsody in Blue,” “An American in Paris,” and “Porgy and Bess,” left an indelible mark on the world of music. But while his compositions continue to enchant generations, his personal life was marked by an unusual twist: George Gershwin never got married. In this article, we delve into the life of this musical genius and explore the reasons behind his bachelorhood.

Did George Gershwin Get Married
Did George Gershwin Get Married

George Gershwin Early Life and Family

Did George Gershwin Get Married

Born on September 26, 1898, in Brooklyn, New York, George Gershwin was the second of four children in his family. He had an elder brother named Ira, a younger brother named Arthur, and a sister named Frances. His family background was rich in musical influences, and it was here that George’s love for music began to bloom.

Did George Gershwin Get Married

George Gershwin Bachelor Journey

Throughout his life, George Gershwin never walked down the aisle. While he was closely linked with a few women, marriage remained elusive for him. His enduring bachelorhood is somewhat of a mystery, given his fame and success.

The Kay Swift Love Story

One of the most significant chapters in Gershwin’s personal life was his relationship with the composer Kay Swift. Theirs was a ten-year affair, characterized by both shared musical passions and personal affection. While Gershwin and Swift were often seen together, they never tied the knot.

During their time together, George would often consult Kay Swift, himself an accomplished composer, about his music. This professional collaboration was just one facet of their relationship, as love also played a significant role.

Challenges in Their Relationship

Did George Gershwin Get Married

Swift’s husband, Jimmy, was frequently away on business, making it easier for her to meet George Gershwin without raising suspicions. However, Jimmy held some resentment toward the “self-centered genius” who had entered their lives. Despite the affair, George and Kay never officially married each other.

According to Kay Swift’s granddaughter, Katharine Weber, one of the reasons for their non-marriage was George’s mother, Rose, who was unhappy that Kay Swift wasn’t Jewish. Additionally, George’s reluctance to marry was well-known among his family and friends. His brother, Ira, believed that George was uncomfortable with the idea of having children.

The Enduring Bond

Did George Gershwin Get Married

Although George Gershwin and Kay Swift never exchanged wedding vows, their connection remained unbroken. Their professional lives were deeply intertwined, with each influencing the other’s work. In a touching gesture, George even named his 1926 musical “Oh, Kay” after his beloved Kay Swift.

Even after George’s untimely death, Kay Swift continued to honor their connection by arranging some of Gershwin’s music. She transcribed several of his recordings and collaborated with his brother Ira on various projects, keeping his musical legacy alive.

George Gershwin Tragic End

The world of music was shaken when George Gershwin passed away at the young age of 38. His death was attributed to a brain tumor, marking one of the most shocking losses in the musical world during the 1930s.

In the early months of 1937, Gershwin’s health began to deteriorate rapidly. As a superb pianist, he even experienced blackouts and coordination problems during a live performance with the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra. His condition raised concerns, with his sister-in-law Leonore noticing mood swings and difficulties eating.

As George’s health continued to decline, he was placed in the care of his valet, Paul Mueller, in the empty quarters of lyricist Yip Harburg. However, his symptoms persisted, including blinding headaches and olfactory hallucinations.

On July 9, 1937, George Gershwin collapsed and was rushed to Cedars of Lebanon Hospital in Los Angeles, where a large brain tumor, believed to be glioblastoma, was removed on July 11, 1937. Tragically, George did not survive the operation, leaving a void in the world of music.

Remembering George Gershwin

A memorial concert held at the Hollywood Bowl on September 8, 1937, paid tribute to the musical genius that was George Gershwin. Otto Klemperer conducted his own orchestration of the second of Gershwin’s “Three Preludes,” ensuring that George’s music would continue to touch hearts even after his passing.


In answering the question, “Did George Gershwin Get Married?” the simple answer is no, he did not. Despite his numerous accomplishments in the world of music and his ten-year love affair with Kay Swift, George Gershwin remained a bachelor his entire life.

His story reminds us that while we may know the artists through their works, their personal lives can be enigmatic and unexpected. George Gershwin’s legacy endures, not just through his timeless compositions but also through the story of his unconventional and unmarried life.


Did George Gershwin have kids?

No, George Gershwin did not have any children. He remained unmarried throughout his life.

What did George Gershwin suffer from?

George Gershwin suffered from a brain tumor. He experienced symptoms like blinding headaches, olfactory hallucinations, blackouts, mood swings, and difficulties eating before his death. He underwent surgery to remove the tumor but did not survive the procedure.

Why was Gershwin so rich?

George Gershwin achieved financial success primarily through his prolific career as a composer and songwriter. His compositions, such as “Rhapsody in Blue,” “An American in Paris,” and “Porgy and Bess,” became widely popular and generated significant royalties and income from performances and recordings.

What was George Gershwin’s last words?

The exact last words of George Gershwin are not widely documented. It is known that he fell into a coma shortly before his death, and due to the severity of his illness, he may not have had the opportunity to utter any final words before passing away.

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