Stephen Sondheim, whose work resonated with generations of American theatergoers, died Friday unexpectedly at 91.
He had celebrated Thanksgiving the day before with friends, and less than two weeks prior ventured from Connecticut to NYC to check out new productions of his works Assassins and Company.
Born March 22, 1930, in NYC, Sondheim became arguably the most lauded, revered, ambitious and influential figure in musical theater history.
His work remains among the most popular in the American canon, and includes a number of iconic contributions: the lyrics for West Side Story (1957) and Gypsy (1959), the smash comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), the beloved flop Anyone Can Whistle (1964), and boundaries-smashing musicals including Company (1970), Follies (1971), A Little Night Music (1973), Pacific Overtures (1976), Sweeney Todd (1979), Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Sunday in the Park with George (1984), Into the Woods (1987), Assassins (1990) and Passion (1994).
Among his most memorable songs, “Send in the Clowns,” “The Ladies Who Lunch,” “I'm Still Here,” “Losing My Mind” and “Everything's Coming Up Roses.”
Sondheim won Tonys and received a 2008 Tony for lifetime achievement, the Pulitizer Prize and was a Kennedy Center honoree (1993). In 2015, President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A Broadway house on W. 43rd bears his name.
In film, he co-wrote the mystery The Last of Sheila (1973), and in 1991 won an Oscar for “Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)” from the movie Dick Tracy, performed by Madonna.
Sondheim is survived by his husband of four years, Jeffrey Romley.