Theodore Chanler was born in Newport on April 29, 1902.  He was the son of Major Winthrop Astor Chanler and Margaret Ward Chanler, an author and musician. His godfather was President Theodore Roosevelt, who attended his christening in Newport.

After attending the Cleveland Institute of Music, he began a career as a composer. He is best known for his ballet, “The Pot of Fat” and his song cycle, “Four Rhymes from Peacock Pie,” composed in 1940. He was also a music educator and critic for the Boston Herald, as well as a contributor to the magazine Modern Music.