Jerry Herman Dies: ‘Hello, Dolly!’ & ‘La Cage aux Folles’ Composer Was 88

Jerry Herman
Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP/Shutterstock

Jerry Herman, the Tony Award-winning composer behind Broadway shows including Hello, Dolly! and La Cage aux Folles, has died in Miami. He was 88.

Herman’s goddaughter Jane Dorian confirmed his death to The Associated Press on Friday, following pulmonary complications. He is survived by his partner Terry Marler.

Born in New York in 1931, Herman wrote the music and lyrics to 13 musicals, including Hello, Dolly! in 1964, which won a Tony for best musical and Grammy for best song. La Cage aux Folles also won a Tony in 1984.

The latter musical featured the song I Am What I Am, which went on to become a gay anthem and a disco hit for Gloria Gaynor in 1983, while Herman’s other shows included 1966’s Mame, which also won a Grammy.

Herman was honored with a Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement In The Theatre in 2009, while other notable achievements include receiving the Kennedy Center Honor at the White House in 2010.

Herman also composed a song for Barney’s Great Adventure, the musical comedy adventure film based on the children’s TV series Barney & Friends, and earned an Emmy nomination for his contribution to the score for the 1996 made-for-TV movie Mrs. Santa Claus.

Broadway icons Harvey Fierstein, who wrote the book of La Cage aux Folles, Lea Salonga, playwright Paul Rudnick and British theatre choreographer and director Matthew Bourne were among those who paid tribute to Herman and his work.

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