Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock

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BroadwayWorld.com has learned that FIDDLER ON THE ROOF composer Jerry Bock passed away last night, at the age of 81. This comes just one week after the passing of FIDDLER bookwriter Joseph Stein.

The site's thoughts and prayers go out to Bock's friends, family and loved ones.

The composer of the Broadway successes Fiddler on the Roof, Mr. Wonderful and Fiorello! was born Jerrold Lewis Bock in New Haven, Connecticut on November 23, 1928.

His family moved to Flushing, New York where Bock studied the piano from an early age and began writing music for various shows while still in high school. His first success came during his high school years, in the form of the musical comedy "My Dream". As a senior at the University of Wisconsin, he scored the musical comedy, "Big as Life," based on the legend of Paul Bunyon, and put on by Haresfoot, an all-male college musical society. Bock's collaborator was a fellow student, Larry Holofcener, who was to become a co-worker on Bock's early scores. "Big as Life," won first prize in an annual university show competition, sponsored by BMI, the performing rights organization. During the summer breaks, the pair worked at Camp Taminent in Pennsylvania's Pocono Mountains. The program called for the preparation of an original one-act weekly revue for 10 consecutive weeks.

Returning to New York following college, Bock and Holofcener were fortunate in being selected to audition their skills for Max Liebman, a producer of early music variety shows for television. They passed the test and joined the staff of "The Admiral Broadway Revue," which later became "Your Show of Shows," starring one of the world's premiere comedy duos, Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca. The young writers wrote songs for the stars as well as the chorus and the Corps de Ballet.

During the early 50s period, an introduction to the very well-known music publisher, Tommy Valando, resulted in Bock's debut Broadway vehicle, the score for "Catch a Star." This was followed by song contributions to Tallulah Bankhead's "Ziegfeld Follies," some pop-styled songs for Sarah Vaughan and Bob Manning and a score for a Columbia Pictures short, titled "Wonders of Manhattan," which won an honorable mention at The Cannes Film Festival. This highly frenetic period reached its peak, finally, when Jule Styne assigned the score of "Mr. Wonderful," which was to star Sammy Davis, Jr., to Jerry Bock, Larry Holofcener, and ultimately to George David Weiss as well. Two songs from that score became standards, "Mr. Wonderful," and "Too Close for Comfort."

Two years later, the fruitful team of Bock and Sheldon Harnick was born, yielding eventually, five Broadway show scores in seven years, which stands as a record. The shows included "The Body Beautiful," "Fiorello" (winner of Broadway's triple crown: The Antoinette Perry (Tony) Award, The New York Drama Critics Circle Award and The Pulitzer Prize in Drama); "Tenderloin," "She Loves Me," "The Apple Tree," "The Rothschilds," and "Fiddler on the Roof," honored then as winner of the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, The Page One Award of the American Newspaper Guild, and nine Tony Awards, including "Best Musical."

Jerry Bock also contributed one song per weekly broadcast of "Sing Something Special," a New York City Board of Education program on WNYE, which culminated in a special children's album for Golden Records. Jerry Bock is also an esteemed Inductee into the Theater Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Photo Credit: Walter McBride / WM Photos

Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock

Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock attends the Opening Night of "enter laughing" 9/10/2008

Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock, Joseph Stein & Sheldon Harnick attend the Opening Night of "enter laughing" 9/10/2008

Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock & wife attend the Opening Night of CYRANO de BERGERAC 11/1/2007

Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock & wife attend the Opening Night of CYRANO de BERGERAC 11/1/2007

Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock attends the Opening Night of "THE APPLE TREE" 12/14/2006

Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock attends the Opening Night of "THE APPLE TREE" 12/14/2006

Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock & wife attend the Opening Night of CYRANO de BERGERAC 11/1/2007

Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock attends a performance of "FIDDLER ON THE ROOF" 9/20/2005

Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock
Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein attend a performance of "FIDDLER ON THE ROOF" 9/20/2005

Photo Coverage: BWW Remembers Jerry Bock

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Walter McBride As a 14 year old youth, Walter was transfixed by his first Broadway Show, the original production of 'GREASE'. His Journey to celebrity photojournalism began that fateful night. Meeting, photographing and getting to know the cast inspired him to spend his professional life doing what he loved. Walter moved to Manhattan and for a leading role as a Photographer & Photo Researcher. Currently headlining in New Jersey with his partner Richard and family members Dali (Jack Russell) & Gala (Schnoodle). Recently he made his Broadway debut sharing the stage with Hugh Jackman in 'Hugh Jackman on Broadway' as well as receiving the Actors' Equity Association Gypsy Spirit Award. Walter McBride Photography is syndicated worldwide by Corbis/AP.