HERBERT Kretzmer, the Les Miserables lyricist, has died aged 95.
The lyricist and journalist was best known for his adaptation of the famous musical.
He was behind the English lyrics to the classics “I Dreamed a Dream” and “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables”.
The lyricist helped turn the two-hour musical into three-hours by incorporating the French words, and got Tony and Grammy nods for his work.
He was later nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe when a new song “Suddenly” was added into the film of the musical in 2012.
Paying tribute, Sir Tim Rice described him as “a giant of his trade”, adding: “RIP Herbie.”
Les Miserables producer Cameron Mackintosh said: “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.”
Actor Gary Kemp wrote on Twitter: “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.
‘HIS WONDERFUL WORDS’
“I had the privilege to know him a little and send his family much love. RIP.”
Kretzmer worked as a writer for the Sunday Dispatch and the Daily Express, later becoming a senior drama critic there for 18 years.
He later wrote for the Daily Mail but in an interview with the Guardian said his work on Les Mis was what changed his life.
He said: “I returned to the Mail, but then it became clear that the show had a fairly certain future: I was able to give up my day job at 61.
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“Les Misérables has brought me my London house and my wife, whom I met at the opening-night party in New York.
“I often marvel at how those few feet between [producer] Cameron Mackintosh’s sofa and his door changed my life.”
The South-African born writer also wrote the lyrics to Good Gracious Me, sung by Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren.
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