Hoagland Howard Carmichael was born in Bloomington, Indiana. He attended Indiana University at Bloomington. He originally studied law while playing music on the side, but then decided to devote his energies to music.
His best known compositions include "Stardust", "Riverboat Shuffle", "Rockin' Chair", "Washboard Blues", "Heart & Soul", "New Orleans", and "Georgia on My Mind"; he also collaborated with Sidney Arodin on the standard "Up a Lazy River".
Hoagy Carmichael appeared as an actor in at least 14 motion pictures, often singing and playing the piano on his own compositions.
Carmichael wrote two autobiographies, "The Stardust Road" (1946) and "Sometimes I Wonder" (1965).