Former Mayor Ed Koch Dies; Inspiration for Off-B'Way Musical

Fox News reports that former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, known for his trademark question, "How'm I doing?, died early this morning, Friday, February 1st. Koch was recently readmitted to a New York City hospital after being treated for water in his lungs. A spokesman confirmed the news of Koch's death early this morning.

The brash and colorful politician had battled pneumonia in December and was being treated with antibiotics. He was also hospitalized last fall for anemia.

Koch's 1984 memoir, "Mayor," was a best seller that was turned into the off-Broadway musical by the same name. With a book by Warren Leight and music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Charles Strouse the show depicted a single day in the life of the city's leader.

Real-life personalities who were portrayed in the musical included Cardinal John O'Connor, Bess Myerson, Leona and Harry Helmsley, David Rockefeller, Carol Bellamy, Harrison J. Goldin, John V. Lindsay, Abraham Beame, and Sue Simmons.

The off-Broadway production was directed by Jeffrey B. Moss and choreographed by Strouse's wife, Barbara Siman. It opened on May 13, 1985 at the Top of the Gate in Greenwich Village and ran for 185 performances. The cast included Lenny Wolpe as the Mayor and Nancy Giles, Ken Jennings, Ilene Kristen, Douglas Bernstein, Marlon J. Caffey, Keith Curran, and Kathryn McAteer in supporting roles.

Koch also presided over the court room in the sydicated legal reality series 'People's Court' from September 8, 1997 to May 28, 1999. In recent years, director Neil Barsky featured the mayor in his documentary 'Koch'. The film chronicles how the keen politician managed to save New York from the brink of bankruptcy in the 1970s. By the time he left office at the end of 1989, he had created an urban turnaround that still continues today.

Current New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a statement this morning, which read, "He was a great mayor, a great man, and a great friend. In elected office and as a private citizen, he was our most tireless, fearless, and guileless civic crusader. Through his tough, determined leadership and responsible fiscal stewardship, Ed helped lift the city out of its darkest days and set it on course for an incredible comeback. We will miss him dearly."

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