Stephen Sondheim, Legendary Composer and Lyricist, Dead at 91

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Stephen Sondheim, the revered composer and lyricist behind some of Broadway’s most popular musicals, died early Friday at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. He was 91. Per the New York Times, the news was announced by F. Richard Pappas, Sondheim’s lawyer and friend. According to Pappas, Sondheim’s death was sudden and came one day after the Broadway legend celebrated Thanksgiving with friends in Roxbury.

Sondheim was universally considered to be one of the most influential figures in American musical theater. He wrote the lyrics to West Side Story and Gypsy, which opened in 1957 and 1959, respectively. The first musical that Sondheim wrote both the music and lyrics for was the 1962 production A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. Sondheim went on to work on a host of other notable musicals, including A Little Night Music, Assassins, Company, Follies, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd, and Sunday in the Park With George.

Across his decades-long career, he won eight Grammy Awards, nine Tony Awards, a Pulitzer Prize, and an Academy Award for Best Original Song. In 2015, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. And last year, many of Sondheim’s famous theater collaborators — including the likes of Meryl Streep, Mandy Patinkin, and Patti LuPone — came together to pay tribute to his legendary career via a livestream for his 90th birthday. Sondheim told the Times five days before his death that he planned to keep working. “I’m too old now to do a lot of traveling, I’m sorry to say,” he said. “What else would I do with my time but write?”

Stephen Sondheim, Renowned Composer and Lyricist, Dead at 91