Breaking: HAIR Composer Galt MacDermot Passes Away at 89
BroadwayWorld is saddened to report that composer Galt MacDermot, perhaps best known for his work on the landmark musical Hair, passed away today, December 17. He was 89 years old
MacDermot was born in Montreal, Quebec, the son of a Canadian diplomat. He was educated at Upper Canada College and Bishop's University (Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada). He received a Bachelor of Music from Cape Town University, South Africa and made a study of African music his specialty.
MacDermot won his first Grammy Award for the Cannonball Adderley recording of his song "African Waltz" (the title track of the album of the same name) in 1960.
He moved to New York City in 1964 where, three years later, he wrote the music for the hit musical Hair, which he later adapted for the 1979 film. His next musicals were Isabel's a Jezebel (1970) and Who the Murderer Was (1970), which featured British progressive rock band Curved Air. MacDermot had another hit with the musical Two Gentlemen of Verona (1971), which won the Tony Award for Best Musical. For that show, MacDermot was nominated for a Tony for best music and won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music.
MacDermot's film soundtracks include Cotton Comes to Harlem, a 1970 blaxploitation film starring Godfrey Cambridge, Raymond St. Jacques and Redd Foxx, based on Chester Himes' novel of the same name; Rhinoceros (1974) starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder, and directed by original Broadway Hair director Tom O'Horgan; and Mistress (1992).