Albert Hague (née Albert Marcuse) was born in Berlin to Harry Martin Marcuse, a psychiatrist and musician, and Mimi Marie Martin, a chess champion. Considering their Jewish heritage to be a liability, they raised Albert as a Lutheran. (He would later return to his Jewish roots.) Albert was nine years old when his father died, and they moved from a comfortable apartment to a small one, where his mother ran a cooking school. As Albert was about to be inducted into the Hitler Youth in 1937, his mother swept him off to Rome, where he garnered a full scholarship to the Royal Conservatory of Santa Cecilia. In 1939, when the German army caught up to his whereabouts, his sister, living in Ohio, got him a musical scholarship at the University of Cincinnati. Seeing that Albert had no legal standing to remain in the U.S., Dr. Elliott B. Hague, an eye surgeon affiliated with the University, offered to adopt him.
Such a beginning! While he was a student, he played piano in bars, and during WWII, serving in the Army/Air Force, he played with the Army’s special services band. Eventually, around this time, he “came out” as Jewish. And he wrote music for a stage show, Reluctant Lady, which premiered in 1948 and featured leading lady Renee Orin, whom Albert married in 1951. That same year, he wrote incidental music for the Broadway production of The Mad Woman of Chaillot. Albert was a composer.
His first hit song was “Young and Foolish,” from his first full score production, Plain and Fancy (1955). In 1959 he composed for Redhead, and he and fellow writers Herbert and Dorothy Fields, Sidney Sheldon, and David Shaw shared a Tony award. He in fact composed for many productions, and is also widely known for his much later work composing How the Grinch Stole Christmas.
When Albert played the song he had written for the latter before Dr. Seuss, Dr. Seuss proclaimed, “Any man who slides an octave on the word Grinch gets the job.”
Albert and Renee did a cabaret act, entitled “Hague & Hague: His Hits and His Mrs.” Turns out Albert Hague had always wanted to be an actor. And so he acted - he played music teacher Benjamin Shorofsky in Fame (film and television), Mal Keefer in Nightmares, and the psychiatrist in Space Jam, among other roles.
Albert Hague was the composer of the song “Telephone Book.” He is quoted as saying, “Well, I grew up in a tough neighborhood - Nazi Germany.” And he was more delighted to have been an actor than a composer. Albert Hague passed away on November 12, 2001, at the age of 81.