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Herbert Kretzmer, Lyricist Of Les Miserables, Dead At 95

FILE – In this Monday, Dec, 10, 2012 file photograph, lyricist Herbert Kretzmer and his spouse Sybil Sever attend the premiere for “Les Miserables” on the Ziegfeld Theatre, in New York. Kretzmer, the journalist and lyricist finest identified for his English-language adaptation of the musical Les Misrables, has died. He was 95. His household confirmed Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020 that Kretzmer had died of superior results of Parkinsons illness at his house in London together with his Sybil by his facet. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

Herbert Kretzmer, the journalist and lyricist finest identified for his Englishlanguage adaptation of the musical Les Miserables, has died. He was 95.

LONDON: Herbert Kretzmer, the journalist and lyricist finest identified for his English-language adaptation of the musical Les Miserables, has died. He was 95.

His household confirmed Wednesday that Kretzmer died after an extended sickness with Parkinson’s illness on the London house he shared together with his second spouse, Sybil Sever.

Tributes poured in from giants of the London stage, together with theatrical producer Cameron Mackintosh, singer Elaine Paige and lyricist Tim Rice.

Les Miserables producer Mackintosh stated Kretzmer was instrumental in bringing Victor Hugo’s traditional story of defiance and redemption in early 19th century France to the stage in English in October 1985, 5 years after it had opened in Paris.

“His wonderful words for Les Misrables will live on in his memory forever more,” he stated in an announcement.

For Paige, he was a masterful wordsmith whereas Rice described Kretzmer an ideal lyricist and man of theatre and an enormous of his commerce.

Kretzmer, often called Herbie to his pals, was born in Kroonstad, a small city south of Johannesburg, South Africa, in October 1925. He was one among 4 sons of Jewish-Lithuanian immigrants who ran a grocery store and later a affluent furnishings retailer.

Though his childhood underneath the huge expanse of South African sky was blissful,” he needed by the age of 11 to turn out to be a newspaper man so he might get nearer to his heroes on display.

From Johannesburg, he moved to Paris in 1953, enjoying the piano by night time in a bar in return for a meal. A 12 months later, he moved to London and fulfilled his dream of being on the coronary heart of the film motion, in an award-winning journalistic profession that included stints on the Daily Express and Daily Mail.

His catalog of interviews reads like a Who’s Who? of 20th century leisure, together with Muhammad Ali, Judy Garland, Groucho Marx, David Niven and Frank Sinatra. Some interviewees, like Peter Sellers and Terence Stamp, turned shut pals.

The music was by no means far-off although. He wrote weekly songs within the 1960s for That Was The Week That Was, the BBC’s ground-breaking satirical present that proved the launchpad for the careers of luminaries on the earth of tv over subsequent many years, resembling John Cleese and David Frost.

Some songs have been humorous, resembling Goodness Gracious Me, others extra poignant, notably In the Summer of His Years, a tribute to President John F. Kennedy that was written hours after his assassination on Nov. 22, 1963.

There have been additional songs, together with She, which he wrote with French singer Charles Aznavour and which topped the U.Ok. Singles Charts for a month in 1974. He defined many years later that it was a few British girl with whom he had not too long ago damaged up following a year-long affair.

But the actually huge time by no means fairly got here. Until a younger British producer by the title of Cameron Mackintosh invited Kretzmer to tea in June 1984 and his life modified.

Though the expanded English model of Les Miserables it was by no means Les Mis for Kretzmer had combined critiques initially, it could quickly turn out to be one of many largest successes of 20th century theater.

Were it not for the coronavirus pandemic, it’d nonetheless be operating in London, testomony to the enduring reputation of the story in addition to the songs, resembling “I Dreamed a Dream,” One Day More and Do You Hear the People Sing?

Add Suddenly” to that checklist, the music he wrote for the 2012 blockbuster lm model that earned him on the age of 87 an Academy Award nomination.

Kretzmer has been appointed Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters in France and an Officer of the Order of British Empire.

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