Howard Dietz


Biography of Howard Dietz

Howard Dietz (September 8, 1896 – July 30, 1983) was an American publicist, lyricist, and librettist.

Dietz was born in New York City and studied journalism at Columbia University. He also served as publicist/director of advertising for Goldwyn Pictures and later MGM and is often credited with creating Leo the Lion, its lion mascot, and choosing their slogan Ars Gratia Artis. In 1942, he was made MGM's Vice President in Charge of Publicity. He held that position until his retirement in 1957.

He began a long association with composer Arthur Schwartz when they teamed up for the Broadway revue The Little Show in 1929. They would continue to work on and off over the next 30 or so years. Dietz served in the US Navy in World War I and became editor of their magazine, Navy Life. During World War II, he assisted the U.S. Treasury Department with the publicity and promotion of War Bonds and created stage shows for the Coast Guard with composer Vernon Duke. He appears as a recurring character in the mystery novels of John Dandola which involve a sleuthing MGM publicity girl.

Dietz saved copies of every document relating to his career, as well as relating to the publicity campaigns of every MGM film he publicized. After his death, this vast trove of artifacts was donated to the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts. The archive on Dietz constitutes its single largest archive on any person or subject.

In 1972, Howard Dietz was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. And, in 1981, he was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame.

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