Richard Adler, the composer and lyricist who co-wrote songs for the hit musicals “Damn Yankees” and “The Pajama Game”, as well as the hit songs “Whatever Lola Wants” and “Hernando’s Hideaway”, passed away at his Southhampton, New York home on Thursday. He was 90. In addition to composing and writing lyrics to a number of songs, Adler was also the mastermind behind the John F. Kennedy birthday celebration featuring Marilyn Manroe’s famous birthday number.
Adler began his career as a lyricist in 1950, following a stint in the Navy. It was around this time that he joined forces with Jerry Ross, another budding composer. Together they penned a number of tunes, with both men taking equal credit for music and lyrics. After deciding that working together was ideal, the men found a mentor in Frank Loesser, the famous Broadway composer responsible for writing the songs to both “Guys and Dolls” and “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying”. After numerous Top 10 songs and three Broadway hits in as many years, the duo’s career was cut short by Ross’ death in 1955.
Sadly, Adler would find little success on the scene following his partner’s untimely demise, though he still continued to work alone and with other composers over the years. In addition to co-writing the hit Doris Day song “Everybody Loves a Lover” with Robert Allen in 1958, Adler also wrote “Olympus 7-0000” for the show ABC Stage 67. His last Broadway musical, “Music Is”, debuted in 1976 and featured lyrics from Will Holt.
Adler’s contributions have earned him a number awards, including three Tony Awards, two Variety Critics Awards, two Donaldson Awards, an Emmy Award, and four Pulitzer nominations. In 1984, the composer was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
A number of individuals familiar with Richard Adler and his contributions to Broadway have taken to Twitter to express their condolences over his passing. A fair share such posts have been collected and embedded into the space provided below. For more information about the composer, stop by Famous Dead.
Richard Adler, iconic composer of “Whatever Lola Wants” dead at 90 (sad face)… http://t.co/UzLVtueJ
Tonight’s Pajama Game @RoyalAcadMusic will honour the memory and glorious songs of Richard Adler, who passed away yesterday aged 90. RIP
Richard Adler, after three Pajama Games, I still liked you. Your letter hangs prominently in my office.RIP #wellmeaningcurmudgeon
One of the greatest composers of the 20th century, Richard Adler died today. And I was just singing The Pajama Game this morning!
Bway composer Richard Adler passed yesterday after 90-years! Had a great time with him on Pajama Game 2006. Obit: http://t.co/m807LXVb