Les Miserables lyricist and 'giant of his trade' dies aged 95

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Tributes are being paid to Les Miserables lyricist and "giant of his trade" Herbert Kretzmer, who has died at the age of 95.

Family and friends confirmed the news of his death on social media.

Herbert Kretzmer attends the Les Miserables On Broadway Opening Night>> at Imperial Theatre on March 23, 2014 in New York City

Image: Herbert Kretzmer wrote the English lyrics for the show

Les Miserables (2012)..Featuring Eddie Redmayne as Marius.... Universal Pictures

Image: The story was turned in to a film in 2012, starring Eddie Redmayne as Marius. Pic: Universal Pictures

Sir Tim Rice, best known for his musical collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, tweeted: "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."

Born in South Africa, Kretzmer moved to London in 1954 and worked as a journalist as well as a songwriter.

He wrote songs for BBC satire That Was The Week That Was, and won an Ivor Novello Award for the comedy hit Goodness Gracious Me, performed by Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren. He also worked with French singer Charles Aznavour on his 1974 hit She, which topped the charts in the UK.

However, it is the much-loved English language lyrics for world-renowned musical Les Miserables that he is best known for.

The great Herbie Kretzmer has died. One of our country’s top lyricists and man of the theatre who penned She, Les Mis and much more. I had the privilege to know him a little and send his family much love. RIP. #HerbieKretzmer pic.twitter.com/YDKQr4bkjr

— Gary Kemp (@garyjkemp) 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

Based on the 1862 French novel of the same name by Victor Hugo, with songs including I Dreamed a Dream, Bring Him Home and On My Own, his work on the musical earned him both a Tony and a Grammy award.

He was also a credited screenwriter and the credited lyricist for the Oscar-winning film version, released in 2012, which starred Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Eddie Redmayne, Amanda Seyfried, Sacha Baron Cohen and Helena Bonham Carter.

As well as Les Miserables, Kretzmer also wrote the book and lyrics for the West End musical Our Man Crichton, and the lyrics for The Four Musketeers and English lyrics for the musical Marguerite.

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