Best known for collaborating with Bert Kalmar on Three Little Words, A Kiss to Build a Dream On, and numerous other songs.
He performed in vaudeville as a pianist. He always wanted to become a professional baseball player.
He and Kalmar composed music together for close to 30 years. Their partnership was dramatized in the 1950 film Three Little Words in which he was played by Red Skelton and Kalmar by Fred Astaire.
He married Eileen Percy in 1936.
He was best friends with Groucho Marx and wrote several songs for him.