United States: death of Stephen Sondheim, lyricist of the legendary West Side Story

Stephen Sondheim during the presentation of the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 © NICHOLAS KAMM / AFP

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Stephen Sondheim, the lyricist of the legendary American musical "West Side Story", died this Friday, November 26 at the age of 91 at his home in Roxbury, United States.

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His lawyer, F. Richard Pappas, told the

New York Times

that Stephen Sondheim suddenly passed away at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut (northeast of the country), after celebrating Thanksgiving with his friends the day before.

Born March 22, 1930 in New York, Stephen Sondheim, whose parents worked in fashion, had a passion for musical theater from an early age.

Stephen Sondheim was hired at just 25 to write the lyrics for the now legendary

West Side Story

, his first Broadway show, later adapted for the screen.

He was considered one of the greatest composers of the musical and was seen as an intellectual of the genre, as he preferred art theater to the entertainment so prevalent on Broadway.

He had worked as a composer or lyricist on other musicals such as

Sweeney Todd

,

Gypsy

,

Sunday in the Park with George

or

A Little Night Music.

During his long career, this Broadway giant won eight Grammy Awards, as many as Tony Awards, an Oscar in 1985, as well as a Pulitzer Prize in 1985.

Pieces still performed in 2021

In 2015, Barack Obama, then President of the United States, awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor.

"

 To put it simply, Stephen has reinvented the American musical 

," Barack Obama said.

Proof of the longevity of his works, two of his plays,

Company

, created in 1970, and

Assassins

, which dates from 1990, were performed on Broadway this fall.

Days before his death, the respected artist had said in

an interview with the

New York Times that he

had been "

 lucky 

", delighted to see his shows performed over and over again.

(With AFP)

►Also listen: You will tell me some news - The musical, its letters of nobility from A to Z

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