Hello, Dolly! composer Jerry Herman dies at 88
Another Broadway legend has died. Jerry Herman, the Tony Award-winning composer behind Hello Dolly! and other popular works, died Thursday at age 88 in Miami from pulmonary complications, according to The Associated Press.
Born in New York in 1931, Herman made his Broadway debut in 1960 with the revue From A to Z. One of his biggest hits would come in 1964 with Hello, Dolly! The musical, originally starring Carol Channing, won a then-record 10 Tony Awards, including Best Musical and Best Original Score for Herman. But Hello, Dolly!‘s influence extended outside Broadway. Many of its songs went on to become pop standards, and Louis Armstrong’s recording of the title track even managed to knock The Beatles from the No. 1 spot on the charts.
He followed up that show with Mame, which opened in 1966 and starred Angela Lansbury. Herman’s second-biggest musical was 1984’s La Cage aux Folles, which also won Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Original Score. It was also remarkable as one of the first hit Broadway musicals to center on a gay couple. Harvey Fierstein, who wrote the book for La Cage aux Folles, called Herman “one of the greats” in a tribute tweet on Friday.
Herman’s show tunes were bright and optimistic, a contrast with the dark complex work of his contemporary Stephen Sondheim. But in interviews, Herman dismissed any talk of rivalry or resentment between the two.
Herman is survived by his partner Terry Marler, his goddaughter Jane Dorian, and her daughter Sarah Haspel.