Herbert Kretzmer Dies: ‘Les Miserables’ Lyricist Was 95

Herbert Kretzmer, whose English lyrics for the then little-known French musical Les Miserables helped turn the show into a blockbuster production, has died at the age of 95.

High-profile theatre figures including Tim Rice first shared the news and his agent has since confirmed it to the New York Times. Kretzmer passed away on Wednesday at his home in London, days after his 95th birthday.

Alongside his work on Les Mis, the South African-born Kretzmer was a highly-regarded UK theater and TV critic for publications including the Daily Mail. He also penned English-language lyrics to the songs of French songwriter Charles Aznavour.

Les Misérables producer Cameron Mackintosh led tributes today, saying, “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.”

Tim Rice, Les Mis cast member Lea Salonga and numerous others joined in on twitter to pay their respects to Kretzmer.

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