"How to write a song? I suppose a good method is to arrange
to be born into a theatrical family."
Dorothy was born on July 15th 1904. (Most sources say
1905, but biographer Charlotte Greenspan has seen the birth certificate!)
She was the daughter of the hugely successful vaudevillian Lew Fields,
and his wife Rose.
She had an elder sister Frances, and two older brothers Joseph and
Herbert, who were both to become playwrights and provide the books
for several successful musicals.
Lew Fields had become a theatrical producer and despite frequent
financial crises, he and his family enjoyed a prosperous lifestyle
with numerous servants in their large house on West 90th
Street, Manhattan, and a summer home at Far Rockaway.
The children were surrounded with past and future greats from the
New York theatre world; despite this, they were actively discouraged
from carving out careers in the theatre for themselves. Lew and Rose
seem to have had little respect for the profession : Rose is reported
to have said You children must be extra polite to strangers
because your father's an actor.