Dorothy Fields was born in Allenhurst, New Jersey, and grew up in New York City.
Her father, Lew Fields, was a Polish immigrant who worked as a vaudeville comedian and later became a Broadway manager and producer.
During the 1920s, she spent some time in London, where she appeared as one half of a successful cabaret comedy act called "Silly and Dotty" with English socialite Lady Sylvia Ashley. She became one of the first successful female songwriters for Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood, and wrote more than 400 songs for Broadway musicals and films. Among the most famous songs are "I Can't Give You Anything But Love", "On the Sunny Side of the Street," and "The Way You Look Tonight" -- which earned an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1936 -- and "Pick Yourself Up." For over 50 years, she collaborated with other composers and librettists, including Jerome Kern, her brother Herbert Fields, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Cy Coleman on a string of popular musicals, including Roberta, Swing Time, Annie Get Your Gun, Redhead, and Sweet Charity.