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Oscar Nathan Straus (March 6, 1870 – January 11, 1954) was a Viennese composer of operettas, film scores, and songs. He also wrote about 500 cabaret songs, chamber music, and orchestral and choral works. His original name was actually Strauss, but for professional purposes he deliberately omitted the final 's'. He wished not to be associated with the musical Strauss family of Vienna. However, he did follow the advice of Johann Strauss II in 1898 about abandoning the prospective lure of writing waltzes for the more lucrative business of writing for the theatre.
Straus was born in Vienna, Austria, to a Jewish family. He studied music at the Vienna Conservatory and later at the Berlin Hochschule für Musik. In 1894, he made his debut as a conductor at the Theater an der Wien. He composed his first operetta, Der tapfere Soldat (The Chocolate Soldier), in 1908. The operetta was based on George Bernard Shaw's play Arms and the Man. It was a huge success and ran for over 500 performances in Vienna.
Straus went on to compose many other successful operettas, including Ein Walzertraum (A Waltz Dream, 1907), Der Millionenbauer (The Millionaire Farmer, 1910), and Rund um die Liebe (All Around Love, 1914). He also composed music for several films, including One Hour with You (1932), The Smiling Lieutenant (1931), and The Merry Widow (1934).
Straus was a popular and successful composer during his lifetime. He was awarded the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art in 1925 and the Grand Austrian State Prize in 1950. He died in Bad Ischl, Austria, in 1954.