Wednesday, November 3, 2010


NEW YORK – Jerry Bock, who composed some of the most memorable shows in Broadway history, including "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Fiorello!" has died. He was 81.

Richard M. Ticktin, Bock's attorney and family friend, said the composer died Wednesday morning at Northern Westchester Hospital in Mount Kisco, N.Y., of heart failure.

Together with lyricist Sheldon Harnick, Bock wrote the powerful score to "Fiddler on the Roof," one of the most successful productions in the history of the American musical theater, having an initial run of eight years. It earned the two men Tony Awards in 1965.

Bock had recently spoken at a memorial service for "Fiddler" playwright Joseph Stein, who died Oct. 24. "So now two of the three creators of 'Fiddler on the Roof' have passed away within three weeks of each other," said Ticktin.

Bock and Harnick also took home Tonys and a Pulitzer Prize for the music and lyrics to "Fiorello!" in 1960. In addition, Bock was nominated for Tonys in 1967 for "The Apple Tree" and in 1971 for "The Rothschilds."

"The world will remember him as a gentle human being with great talent who was a collaborator in musical theater. Jerry believed that the essence of musical theater was the collaboration — working with your colleagues, trying to make a unified whole out of disparate parts," Ticktin said.

Bock's other works include "The Body Beautiful," "Mr. Wonderful" and "She Loves Me."

In 2004, Bock said his favorite moment in the creation of a song was playing it with his collaborator. "If it works, we say, 'Wow!'" Bock said. "There's no reward like it — to finish a song and celebrate it with your partner."

Survivors include his wife, Patti, daughter Portia Bock, son George Bock and granddaughter Edie Mae Shipler. Funeral services will be private, his lawyer said.

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