Irving Berlin was born on May 23, 1888, at Tolochin, Vitebsk Governorate, Russian Empire. In 1893 his family moved to New York. At eight he began to sell newspapers to help the family. His father was a singer and he began singing to earn a living. He taught himself to play the piano and started writing songs. His first breakthrough song was "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911 and continuing through a stream of hits that included "Puttin' On The Ritz," "Easter Parade," "There's No Business Like Show Business," "White Christmas" and "God Bless America." Though he never learned to read or write music, Berlin wrote over 1,500 songs, in addition to 19 musicals and scores for 18 movies.