Composer, Producer, Lyricist
( b. Aug 03, 1921 New York, New York, USA - d. Jun 21, 2012 Southampton, New York, USA ) Male
Richard Adler was a composer and lyricist whose towering early successes on Broadway in the 1950s include the smash hits The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees. With Jerry Ross, Mr. Adler wrote music and lyrics for The Pajama Game (1954), a comedy about labor agitation in a pajama factory, and Damn Yankees (1955), a Faustian romp about a man who sells his soul to the Devil so that he may lead his beloved Washington Senators to victory on the baseball diamond.
Each show ran for more than 1,000 performances, each won the Tony Award for best musical. By mid-1955, Adler and Ross songs had sold millions of recordings and made the two men among the most sought-after creators of American musical theater. But their collaboration — just five years in all — ended a few months later with Mr. Ross’s death.
Richard Adler was born in Manhattan in August 1921; his father, Clarence, was a pianist and teacher of some distinction. As a child, Richard disdained the family business: whenever a young male pupil came to the Adler home for a lesson, he would answer the door, baseball bat in hand, and pronounce the caller a sissy.
Mr. Adler earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina and during World War II served with the Navy in the Pacific. In 1950 he met Mr. Ross outside the Brill Building, the hive for songwriters on Broadway at 49th Street.
As a producer, he was responsible for the lavish Madison Square Garden fund-raiser of 1962 that featured Marilyn Monroe singing “Happy birthday, Mr. President” to John F. Kennedy.
Alone, he wrote music and lyrics for Kwamina, a musical about Africa starring Brock Peters, Robert Guillaume and Sally Ann Howes, which ran for 32 performances in 1961. Mr. Adler’s work on the show was nominated for a Tony Award.
He also turned to writing music and lyrics for TV jingles (“Let Hertz Put You in the Driver’s Seat”) and to orchestral works like “The Lady Remembers,” inspired by the Statue of Liberty.
Source: The New York Times
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