Jerry Herman, Broadway composer of ‘Hello Dolly,’ ‘Mame,’ dead at 88

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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Broadway composer Jerry Herman dead at 88

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Jerry Herman, a Tony Award-winning composer whose hits included the songs from “Hello, Dolly!” “Mame,” and “La Cage aux Folles,” died Thursday. He was 88.

Herman's goddaughter, Jane Dorian, confirmed Herman's death Friday to The Associated Press. Herman died of pulmonary complications in Miami, where he had been living with his partner, Terry Marler.

Herman's work included the title song of "Hello, Dolly!" which knocked the Beatles off the top of the Billboard charts in 1964. He also wrote the title song for "Mame" and "I Am What I Am," in "La Cage aux Folles," the Los Angeles Times reported.

Other Herman compositions -- "The Best of Times Is Now," "Before the Parade Passes By" and "We Need a Little Christmas" -- are notable standards in American music, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Herman created 10 Broadway shows and contributed to several others, The New York Times reported. He won Tony Awards for his scores to "Hello, Dolly!" (1964) and "La Cage aux Folles" (1984), according to The Hollywood Reporter. He was also the first composer-lyricist to have as many as three musicals run for at least 1,500 performances each on Broadway, the website reported.

Harvey Fierstein, who wrote the book of "La Cage aux Folles," tweeted a tribute to Herman on Friday. "We lost one of the greats," Fierstein tweeted.

Born in New York City on July 10, 1931, Herman was raised in Jersey City, New Jersey, The New York Times reported. He learned how to play the piano while his parents ran a children's summer camp at Stissing Lake Camp in the Catskills, the newspaper reported.

Herman graduated from the University of Miami, and made his Broadway debut in 1960 in the review, “From A to Z."

"He wrote for his mother,” “Hello, Dolly!” star Carol Channing said in a 2008 PBS documentary, “Words and Music by Jerry Herman.” “He’s written the most marvelous women’s parts for musicals that anyone ever wrote, because he wrote them for someone he loved dearly.”

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