(Washington, D.C., Jan. 11, 2021)—Ruth Lowe became one of the first Jewish women to break into the male-dominated music industry of the 1940s when she wrote Frank Sinatra’s first big hit, “I’ll Never Smile Again,” which launched the singer’s rise to fame. Lowe’s son, photographer Tom Sandler, and author Peter Jennings, join CEO Daniel S. Mariaschin on the B’nai B’rith International Podcast to discuss their biography on Lowe’s life and career, “Until I Smile at You.”
Lowe wrote “I’ll Never Smile Again” out of grief after losing her husband just a year into their marriage. The song was an instant hit, charting on Billboard for 12 weeks, and sending Sinatra’s career to new heights. It has endured to this day, with more than 150 artists recording their own versions.
“What she did was so outstanding and was so enormous that I think I felt for quite a while that the story has to be shared and has to be known,” Sandler said. “This was a groundbreaking accomplishment that she did as a woman and as a Jewish woman in the late 1930s, and the tragedies she had to overcome and the way in which she overcame them were so incredible that it was important to have this story as an inspiration and as a role model for people.”
Lowe was a prolific songwriter. In addition to “I’ll Never Smile Again,” she wrote Sinatra’s theme song, “Put Your Dreams Away”—which was played at his funeral—and 50 other songs for Hollywood and Broadway. Through her work, she became known as “the architect of the American ballad.”
“I was very honored to write about Ruth—her story is a very stirring account of tremendous courage,” Jennings said.
Along with this most recent work, Jennings has written several books, including the widely acclaimed “Shark Assault: An Amazing Story of Survival.”
Sandler is a Toronto-based photographer who regularly photographs celebrities and politicians such as Margaret Thatcher, Nelson Mandela, Prince Edward and more.
Listen to the podcast here.
B’nai B’rith International has advocated for global Jewry and championed the cause of human rights since 1843. B’nai B’rith is recognized as a vital voice in promoting Jewish unity and continuity, a staunch defender of the State of Israel, a tireless advocate on behalf of senior citizens and a leader in disaster relief. With a presence around the world, we are the Global Voice of the Jewish Community. Visit bnaibrith.org.