Carol Hall, the composer and lyricist for Broadway’s long-running The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas and one of the musical forces behind Marlo Thomas’ classic 1974 TV special and album Free to Be …You and Me, died Thursday at her home in New York City. She was 82 and had been living with a rare form of dementia for three years.
Her death was announced by publicist Jessica Johnson. Hall had been diagnosed with logopenic primary progressive aphasia.
Hall also was a longtime contributor to Sesame Street and had written and performed her own songs since the 1970s. Among her memorable Sesame Street songs were the Grammy-winning “True Blue Miracle,” “The Plant in The Window,” “Women Can Be,” and “Big Bird’s Beautiful Birthday Bash.”
For Free to Be …You and Me — the groundbreaking album and subsequent ABC special that challenged stereotypes and promoted gender equality that won Peabody and Emmy awards — Hall wrote “Parents Are People,” “Glad to Have a Friend Like You” and “It’s All Right to Cry,” the latter famously sung on the special by NFL tough guy Rosey Grier. She also contributed to the follow-up Free to Be … a Family.
The Best Little Whorehouse opened on Broadway in 1978 and ran for nearly five years. (Hall wrote the music and lyrics, with the book by Larry L. King and Peter Masterson). The 1982 film version starred Dolly Parton and Burt Reynolds (pictured above), whose highlights included Parton’s version of Hall’s “Hard Candy Christmas.”
Hall is survived by her husband Leonard and children Susannah Blinkoff and Daniel Blinkoff.