Celebrated Fiddler on the Roof lyricist Sheldon Harnick dies aged 99

Sheldon Harnick, a revered lyricist who worked on musicals including Fiddler on the Roof and Fiorello!, has died at the age of 99.

The celebrated songwriter died from natural causes in his New York City apartment, which overlooks Central Park on the Upper West Side, his spokesperson Sean Katz told The Hollywood Reporter.

Harnick received four Tony Awards in his career, the first of which came in 1960 for best musical in a tied prize, when Fiorello! won the accolade alongside The Sound of Music.

His second and third Tonys came five years later, when Fiddler on the Roof won for best musical, as well as best composer and lyricist.

In 2016, he received a lifetime achievement award at the awards ceremony.

Born on April 30 1924, Harnick graduated from the Northwestern University School of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree after serving in the US army.

In 1956, Harnick met musical theatre composer Jerry Bock, going on to form a duo regarded as being one of the most important in theatre in the 1960s.

They worked on multiple productions together, including The Body Beautiful, Tenderloin, She Loves Me and The Rothschilds, as well as Fiorello! and Fiddler on the Roof.

Fiorello! won the Pulitzer Prize for drama, a rarity for musicals.

One Twitter user wrote in tribute to Harnick following his death: ‘Hands down one of the greatest lyricists of our time, Sheldon Harnick, has passed away at age 99.

‘Fiddler is a masterpiece, She Loves Me is iconic, and The Apple Tree doesn’t get nearly the recognition it deserves. What a career.

‘May his memory be a blessing.’

Young Sheldon star Iain Armitage penned: ‘The incredible Sheldon Harnick died today at age 99, having given the world so many wonderful works of art. Thank you for everything. ❤️.’

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