Marcellus Schiffer was born into a Jewish family in Berlin in 1892. After training as a painter and graphic artist, he discovered his talent as a writer of cabaret chansons and became one of the most sought-after lyricists in the Weimar Republic. He wrote for composers including Friedrich Hollaender and Werner Richard Heymann. His collaboration with Mischa Spoliansky proved to be the most fruitful, producing, for example, the 1930 revue Wie werde ich reich und glücklich? (How Do I Become Rich and Happy?). In 1932 they wrote the hit song Heute Nacht oder nie (Tonight or Never). The same year Marcellus Schiffer took his own life.