September 27, 2004 by

Fred Ebb


Categories: Musicians

febb.jpgFred Ebb, a Tony Award-winning lyricist, died on Sept. 11 of a heart attack. He was believed to be 76.
A native New Yorker, Ebb attended New York University and Columbia University then broke into show business as a writer for nightclub acts and revues. Music publisher Tommy Valando paired him with composer John Kander in 1962 — an introduction that would spark a four-decade collaboration.
In 1965, producer Harold Prince and veteran director George Abbott hired Ebb and Kander to write the score for “Flora, the Red Menace.” The show was not a success, but it led to another gig — writing the lyrics and music for a musical called “Cabaret.” After opening in 1966, “Cabaret” ran for 1,165 performances. The songwriting duo won a Tony Award for the score; the original cast recording nabbed a Grammy; and the 1972 movie version netted eight Oscars.
Their work on “Chicago” received moderate acclaim when the show first ran on Broadway in 1975, but its revival 20 years later was a hit. “Chicago” is still running at the Ambassador Theatre and recently passed 3,250 performances. In 2003, the film adaptation won six Academy Awards, including best picture.
Ebb and Kander collaborated on nine other Broadway musicals, and scored Tonys for “Kiss of the Spider Woman” and “Woman of the Year.” They also composed the song, “New York, New York” for the 1977 Martin Scorsese film of the same name. The song became a standard after both Frank Sinatra and Liza Minelli recorded it.
Over the course of their careers, Ebb and Kander received numerous honors, including the Laurence Oliver Theatre Award and the Kennedy Center Honors. They were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1983. On Sept. 14, the lights on Broadway dimmed in Ebb’s honor.
Listen to a Tribute From NPR
All That Jazz (From "Chicago") Download “All That Jazz” (From “Chicago”)
Theme from "New York, New York" Download “New York, New York”
Cabaret Download “Cabaret” (From “Cabaret”)

3 Responses to Fred Ebb

  1. Patricio

    Fred Ebb was and is a major lyricist and writer, his contibution to the american musical is great and powerfull. He live for ever in the minds and souls, that he touch with his art.

  2. Stephen Ryan

    Kander and Ebb are my favourite team of all time. Their music and lyrics travel deep into the soul. Ebbs words capture the real reality of the world. My favourite song is “But the world goes round”. I would love to have met them both. Ebb will be missed greatly, but he has left behind classics and they will live on forever. I am 17 years old and I live in Ireland. He is as much loved here as he is in America. “Slan leat agus go raibh mile maith agat”.

  3. cye

    what a great man and was my very special friend . we spent many a days laughing in New York and in his apartment. we met in London when he to came to oversee the show he helped write with john called the Rink ,which i was a cast member. our friendship started from there and continued till his death. i miss our fone calls and . my phrase to him was DONT TRY TO BE CLEVER DICKIE. which he fell about laughing when he used to make me say it!! oh and he loved orio biscuits. miss you fred . love CYE. XXX

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