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Lyricist Sheldon Harnick dies aged 99

Gala by Symphony Space Honoring Hal Prince
Sheldon Harnick

Tony Award-winning lyricist Sheldon Harnick has died at the age of 99.

The Fiddler on the Roof lyricist died of natural causes in his sleep at his home in New York City on Friday, his publicist Sean Katz told The Associated Press.

Harnick was best known for his influential songwriting partnership with composer Jerry Bock, with whom he wrote the music for Broadway musicals such as Fiddler on the Roof, Fiorello! and The Apple Tree.

The duo won the Best Composer and Lyricist Tony Award in 1965 for Fiddler on the Roof, which features the famous songs If I Were a Rich Man and Sunrise, Sunset. They also won Tonys and the Pulitzer Prize in Drama for Fiorello!, while Harnick was also nominated for Tonys for The Apple Tree, The Rothschilds, and Cyrano – The Musical.

Harnick and Bock’s first musical, The Body Beautiful, debuted in 1958 and they went on to write the music and lyrics for shows including Tenderloin and She Loves Me before finding worldwide success with Fiddler, a production which is still revived today. The Rothschilds marked their last collaboration in 1970. Bock died in 2010.

Harnick also worked with late composer Michel Legrand on The Umbrellas of Cherbourg in 1979 and 1981’s A Christmas Carol musical, Mary Rodgers on a version of 1973’s Pinocchio, and Arnold Black on The Phantom Tollbooth musical in 1995.

He is survived by his wife Margery Gray Harnick and his children Beth and Matthew.

– Cover Media