Image: Instagram / @ nytimestheater
Stephen Sondheim, the composer and lyricist of Broadway musicals such as West Side Story, Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods, has died at the age of 91.
Sondheim's lawyer and friend Richard Pappas announced his death on Friday, November 26, via the New York Times.
Sondheim's death was sudden, observed Pappas.
He had spent the day before Thanksgiving with friends at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut.
In fact, he'd given the Times his last interview just last weekend, reflecting on his career, and calling himself "happy".
Following the news of the death, Hollywood used social media to celebrate the life and achievements of the award-winning composer.
Australian actor Hugh Jackman, who played Tony in West Side Story in 1990, shared an affectionate tribute.
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“Now and then someone comes along who fundamentally changes an entire art form. Stephen Sondheim was one of them, ”he wrote.
“Since millions mourn his death, I would also like to express my thanks for everything he has given me and so many more. Send my love to your neighbors and loved ones. "
Every now and then someone comes along who fundamentally changes an entire art form. Stephen Sondheim was one of them. As millions mourn his death, I would also like to express my thanks for everything he has given me and so many more. I send my love to his neighbors and loved ones. pic.twitter.com/4KlnJJJipq
– Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) November 26, 2021
Anna Kendrick wrote, “I was just talking to someone a few nights ago about how fun (and damn difficult) it is to sing Stephen Sondheim. Performing his work has been one of the greatest privileges of my career. A devastating loss. "
I was just talking to someone a few nights ago about how fun (and damn hard) it is to sing Stephen Sondheim. Performing his work has been one of the greatest privileges of my career. A devastating loss.
– Anna Kendrick (@ AnnaKendrick47) November 26, 2021
The 1970s and 80s saw Sondheim's greatest success when he wrote the music and lyrics for Company (which is still enjoying a revival on Broadway), Follies, Sweeney Todd and Into the Woods.
One of his best known works is "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music, which fans are now sharing on social media.
Many of Sondheim's musicals have been adapted for the big screen, including Gypsy, West Side Story (Steven Spielberg's version will be released later this year), Into the Woods and Sweeney Todd.
Madonna's interpretation of "Sooner or Later (I Always Get My Man)" in the Dick Tracey film earned Sondheim his only Oscar.
He has also received nine Tony Awards (including a Lifetime Achievement Award), eight Grammy Awards, the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Sunday in the Park with George (with James Lapine), a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1993 Kennedy Center Honors, and another 2015 President's Medal of Freedom Award.