Hassall was born in London and educated at Brighton College. He is the son of John Hassall and brother of Joan Hassall, who engraved the title page of his book of poetry, Devil's Dyke, published in 1936. Hassall married the actress Eve Lynett with whom he had a son and a daughter, the actress Imogen Hassall.
Hassall was an experienced actor serving as Ivor Novello's understudy in a minor London drama when Ivor Novello invited him to provide the lyrics for a new musical. Their successful collaboration for Glamorous Night (1935) ("Shine Through My Dreams", "Fold Your Wings") began a fifteen year partnership that included six long-running hits. ('Perchance to Dream' the other hit which Novello wrote during this period, had lyrics by Novello himself). While their musicals delighted West End audiences, they were judged "too British" for America. Jeremy Northam, who played a... Read More