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After earning a fortune in the cigar industry, Oscar Hammerstein I, grandfather of lyricist Oscar Hammerstein II, built numerous theaters and opera houses.
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Having exhausted his other options, Hammerstein then moved to England, where he built an unsuccessful opera house in London. Back in the States in 1913, Hammerstein built the Lexington Opera House in New York City, but the Metropolitan denied him the legal right to perform opera there.
Hammerstein died on August 1, 1919, in New York City. His love of theater was inherited by his grandson Oscar Hammerstein II,
who wrote and produced such beloved musicals as Oklahoma, South Pacific, The Sound of Music and The King and I. Oscar Hammerstein I's great-grandson, Oscar Hammerstein III, is author of the book The Hammersteins: A Musical Theater Family, published in October 2010.
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