By PAN PYLAS, Related Press
LONDON (AP) — Herbert Kretzmer, the journalist and lyricist finest recognized for his English-language adaptation of the musical Les Miserables, has died. He was 95.
His household confirmed Wednesday that Kretzmer died after a protracted sickness with Parkinson’s illness on the London dwelling he shared along with his second spouse, Sybil Sever.
Tributes poured in from giants of the London stage, together with theatrical producer Cameron Waterproof coat, singer Elaine Paige and lyricist Tim Rice.
Les Miserables producer Waterproof coat stated Kretzmer was instrumental in bringing Victor Hugo’s traditional story of defiance and redemption in early nineteenth century France to the stage in English in October 1985, 5 years after it had opened in Paris.
“His fantastic phrases for Les Misérables will stay on in his reminiscence ceaselessly extra,” he stated in an announcement.
For Paige, he was a “masterful wordsmith” whereas Rice described Kretzmer a “nice lyricist and man of theatre” and a “large of his commerce.”
Kretzmer, often known as Herbie to his buddies, was born in Kroonstad, a small city south of Johannesburg, South Africa, in October 1925. He was certainly one of 4 sons of Jewish-Lithuanian immigrants who ran a grocery store and later a affluent furnishings retailer.
Although his childhood underneath the huge expanse of South African sky was “blissful,” he needed by the age of 11 to grow to be a “newspaper man” — so he might get nearer to his heroes on display screen.
From Johannesburg, he moved to Paris in 1953, enjoying the piano by evening in a bar in return for a meal. A yr 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 Each day Specific and Each day Mail.
His catalog of interviews reads like a Who’s Who? of twentieth 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 buddies.
The music was by no means far-off although. He wrote weekly songs within the Sixties 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 planet of tv over subsequent many years, akin to John Cleese and David Frost.
Some songs have been humorous, akin to “Goodness Gracious Me,” others extra poignant, notably “Within the Summer season 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 couple of British girl with whom he had lately damaged up following a year-long affair.
However the actually massive time by no means fairly got here. Till a younger British producer by the title of Cameron Waterproof coat invited Kretzmer to tea in June 1984 and his life modified.
Although the expanded English model of Les Miserables — it was by no means Les Mis for Kretzmer — had blended opinions firstly, it might quickly grow to be one of many largest successes of twentieth century theater.
Had been 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, akin to “I Dreamed a Dream,” “One Day Extra” and “Do You Hear the Folks Sing?”
Add “All of the sudden” to that checklist, the track he wrote for the 2012 blockbuster ﬁlm 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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