Richard Adler | Composer, lyricist, 90

This Feb. 10, 2006 photo shows composer and lyricist Richard Adler in New York. Adler, who won Tony Awards for co-writing the songs for such hit musicals as "The Pajama Game" and "Damn Yankees," died Thursday at his home in Southampton, N.Y., according to his family. He was 90. TINA FINEBERG / Associated Press, file
This Feb. 10, 2006 photo shows composer and lyricist Richard Adler in New York. Adler, who won Tony Awards for co-writing the songs for such hit musicals as "The Pajama Game" and "Damn Yankees," died Thursday at his home in Southampton, N.Y., according to his family. He was 90. TINA FINEBERG / Associated Press, file
Posted: June 24, 2012

NEW YORK - Composer and lyricist Richard Adler, 90, who won Tony Awards for cowriting snappy and infectious songs for such hit Broadway musicals as The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, and who staged and produced President John F. Kennedy's birthday celebration featuring a breathy Marilyn Monroe, died Thursday at his home in Southampton, N.Y., his wife, Susan A. Ivory, said.

Some of Mr. Adler's biggest songs are "You Gotta Have Heart," "Hey, There," "Hernando's Hideaway," "Whatever Lola Wants," "Steam Heat," "Rags to Riches," and "Everybody Loves a Lover."

Mr. Adler staged and produced several shows for U.S. presidents, including the unforgettable 1962 extravaganza for Kennedy at Madison Square Garden where Monroe sang "Happy Birthday."

He and Jerry Ross wrote the music and lyrics to The Pajama Game, a light comedy about labor-management relations at the Sleep-Tite Pajama Factory that won the best musical Tony in 1955.

 He teamed up with Ross again for Damn Yankees, in which a rabid baseball fan sells his soul to the devil in exchange for a chance to lead his favorite team to American League pennant glory. It won the best musical Tony crown the next year.

The fruitful Ross-Adler union ended when Ross died of a lung ailment in 1955 at age 29. Mr. Adler went on to earn a Tony nomination for writing the lyrics and music for 1961's Kwamina.

Mr. Adler was born in New York City in 1921 and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1943. He served in the Navy Reserve during World War II.

He composed several symphonic works, including Wilderness Suite, which was commissioned by the U.S. Interior Department, and The Lady Remembers, to celebrate the Statue of Liberty's centennial. He also composed two ballets for the Chicago City Ballet: Eight by Adler in 1984 and Chicago.

Mr. Adler also produced works on Broadway, including the play The Sin of Pat Muldoon and the musical Rex. He is a member of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame.

In addition to his wife, Mr. Adler is survived by three children and three grandchildren. - AP

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