He was born into a Jewish family but raised as a Lutheran to protect him from persecution by the Naziz. He left Germany in 1937 and went to Italy where he attended a music conservatorium and then won a scholarship to go to the USA and study at University of Cincinatti. He was adopted by Elliott Hague whose his last name he took. He served in the US military for 2 years and began a career as a composer in 1955. He married Renee Orin and they had two children. He had a strong career on Broadway and gained TV fame in the 1980s as Mr Benjamin Shorofsky in Fame, appearing in 131 episodes.