Stephen Sondheim, legendary composer and lyricist behind ‘Sweeney Todd’ and other Broadway hits, dies at 91

Stephen Sondheim, a Broadway giant who has the most Tony Awards as a composer, died early Friday at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, a spokesperson for Sondheim said.

He was 91.

His cause of death was unknown.

Sondheim was considered American theater’s greatest composer and lyricist of the last half century or more. He has more Tony awards — eight — than any other composer.

His musical “Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street” is revered as his masterpiece. He wrote the lyrics for “West Side Story,” in the 1950s.

Elizabeth Taylor records songs for the film “A Little Night Music” alongside Stephen Sondheim, who wrote the music and lyrics for the film, at a recording studio in England on Aug. 10, 1976.Graham Morris / Evening Standard via Getty Images file

Other notable musical works by Sondheim include “Follies,” “Pacific Overtures,” and “Into the Woods.”

His influence was felt in Hollywood, where he co-composed “Reds”(1981), as well as songs for “The Seven Percent Solution” (1976) and “Dick Tracy” (1990).

Stephen Sondheim and Leonard Bernstein attend “A Musical Tribute to Stephen Sondheim” at Shubert Theater in New York on March 11, 1973.Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images

Sondheim was born in New York on March 22, 1930.

He studied at George School in Pennsylvania from 1942 to 1946, and was a music major at Williams College in Massachusetts from 1946 to 1950. When he graduated he received the Hutchinson Prize for Composition.

Sondheim went on to study music theory and composition under composer Milton Babbitt.

President Barack Obama presents the Presidential Medal of Freedom to composer Stephen Sondheim in the East Room of the White House on Nov. 24, 2015.Evan Vucci / AP file

His works have been revived, sent on tour, and produced across the nation and overseas.

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