Herbert Kretzmer, whose English lyrics for a then little-known French musical Les Miserables helped turn the show into a blockbuster production, has died at the age of 95.
High-profile theater figures including lyricist Tim Rice first shared the news and his agent has since confirmed it to The New York Times. Kretzmer passed away on Wednesday at his home in London, days after his 95th birthday.
Alongside his work on Les Mis, the South African-born Kretzmer was a highly-regarded UK theater and TV critic for publications including the Daily Mail. He also penned English-language lyrics to the songs of French songwriter Charles Aznavour.
Les Misérables producer Cameron Mackintosh led tributes today, saying, “It is terribly sad to hear that the great Herbert Kretzmer passed away last night after a period of illness. His wonderful words for Les Misérables will live on in his memory forever more and the Christmas season at the Sondheim will be all the more poignant for all of us as we hear the people sing without having him there. God bless you, Herbie.”
Rice, Les Mis cast member Lea Salonga and numerous others joined in on twitter to pay their respects to Kretzmer.
The great lyricist and man of theatre and popular song, Herbert Kretzmer, has died. From Les Mis to She, TW3, Goodness Gracious Me and so much more he was a giant of his trade. RIP Herbie.
— Tim Rice (@SirTimRice) October 14, 2020
Rest In Peace, Herbert. Thank you for the most beautiful words we in the Les Miz family ever got (and will get) to sing. Your lyrics will continue to live on, and I shall forever consider On My Own and I Dreamed a Dream nothing less than a privilege. https://t.co/LvAcAzP9IY
— Lea Salonga (@MsLeaSalonga) October 14, 2020
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. RIP Herbert Kretzmer.
— MATT LUCAS (@RealMattLucas) October 14, 2020
Very sad to hear of Herbert Kretzmer passing. His work changed so many peoples lives, mine included. I’ll never forget the fist bumps on set of Les Miserables Movie. RIP boss
— Killian Donnelly (@killiandonnelly) October 14, 2020
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