Legendary Songwriter and Musical Theater Giant Stephen Sondheim Dies at 91

Legendary Broadway composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim died Friday morning (November 26) at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. He was 91.

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The cause of death was not immediately released.

Sondheim, who is a titan of musical theater, is known best for his works such as West Side Story (1957) and Sweeney Todd (1979). He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a Pulitzer Prize, eight Grammy Awards, and eight Tony Awards.

Other best-known works include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Company (1970), and Follies (1971).

Sondheim’s song “Send in the Clowns” is perhaps his most favorite. It was made a hit by Judy Collins and was written for the production A Little Night Music.

Sondheim, whose mentor was the great Oscar Hammerstein II, rose to prominence on Broadway with his songwriting partner and composer Leonard Bernstein.

He won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for his work Sunday in the Park with George, for which he wrote the lyrics and music.

“The magnitude of Stephen Sondheim’s contribution to American musical theater is immeasurable and matched only by his immense generosity in influencing and mentoring new generations. We are forever grateful for his groundbreaking work, which truly evolved the art form of the Broadway musical, and for his support to The ASCAP Foundation to expand the possibilities for young people to experience the magic of the Broadway musical,” said ASCAP President Paul Williams

Many on social media took to appreciating the late legend.

Journalist Mark Harris: “Like many of you, I can’t find words right now to say what Stephen Sondheim and his work meant to me. Because of his age, I was asked to pre-write a tribute to him several months ago. No one essay can do him justice. Here’s my try.”

Actor Josh Gad: “Perhaps not since April 23rd of 1616 has theater lost such a revolutionary voice. Thank you Mr. Sondheim for your Demon Barber, some Night Music, a Sunday in the Park, Company, fun at a Forum, a trip Into the Woods, and telling us a West Side Story. RIP.”

The Tony Awards: “He left us with so many words, but none enough for this post. Goodbye, old pal. Thank you, Stephen Sondheim, for so much brilliance in the theatre and sharing your music with us all.”

Writer Michael Paulson: “Last Sunday, I went to Connecticut to interview Stephen Sondheim at his country house. It turned out to be his last major interview.”

Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage

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