Bob Merrill Headshot

Bob Merrill

Also Credited As: Paul Stryker

Date of Death: February 17, 1998 (76)

Birth Place: Atlantic City, NJ, USA

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Bob Merrill BIO

Bob Merrill was one of the most successful songwriters during the 1950s, with a string of novelty hits such as "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?", “(If I Knew You Were Comin’ Id‘ve) Baked a Cake”, “Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania”, “Mambo Italiano”, “Honeycomb” and “Make Yourself Comfortable”. Longing to write more profound songs, Bob turned his efforts toward the musical theatre. By the late fifties, he had written music and lyrics for Broadway’s “New Girl In Town”, followed by “Take Me Along”, “Carnival”, “Henry, Sweet Henry” and eventually “Funny Girl” featuring the hit songs “People” and “Don’t Rain On My Parade”, as sung by Barbra Streisand. Though he could not read a word of music, nor play any musical instrument, he would bang out his tunes on a child’s toy xylophone, bought for $1.98 at the local dime store.

While Bob Merrill's songwriting credits speak for themselves, his talents were diverse including successful endeavors in screenplay writing, acting and teaching.

Born in Atlantic City in 1921, he did most of his growing up in the Philadelphia area, graduating from high school there. Following his discharge from the Army at the end of World War II, he went to Hollywood and got a job as a writer at CBS Radio while also finding work as an actor, appearing in The Story of GI Joe and in his own words, "a dozen B films and westerns."

Merrill soon realized he had better be on the other side of the camera, and took a job as a dialogue director with Columbia Pictures in Hollywood where he stayed for seven years.

While working on a film for the company he met a woman named Dorothy Shay, a popular performer and singer known as the "Park Avenue Hillbilly," for whom he wrote several songs. These later proved a popular part of her million-seller album and encouraged Bob to explore writing songs as a career. He quit his job at Columbia Pictures and moved to New York, becoming one of the starving songwriters haunting the Brill Building.

One of his earliest songs was the novelty song “If I’d Known You Were Comin’, I’d ’Ve Baked a Cake,” which was recorded by Eileen Barton. This success was followed by other successes including “Honeycomb,” recorded by Jimmie Rodgers; “How Much Is That Doggie In the Window,” recorded by Patti Page; “Love Makes the World Go ’Round,” “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” “Pittsburgh Pennsylvania,” “Mambo Italiano” and “Make Yourself Comfortable.”

In 1964 Bob teamed up with Jule Styne and together they wrote the score for the Broadway hit Funny Girl. The show included one of the great stage standards “People (Who Need People)” and “Don’t Rain on my Parade” and "Who Are You Now".

Merrill enjoyed a number of other Broadway successes as well. These included "Take Me Along", with Jackie Gleason and Walter Pidgeon; "Carnival" with Anna Marie Alberghetti; "New Girl in Town" with Gwen Verdon and Thelma Ritter; and "Sugar" with Cyril Ritchard and Bobby Morse.

Merrill finally tired of the Broadway grind and turned to writing screenplays. His first film credit for screenplay writing was the 1975 film "Mahogany", starring Diana Ross. In close succession came the biography of WC Fields entitled "WC Fields and Me", a Universal release with Rod Steiger; in the early 1980’s Carol Burnett starred in his comedy "Chu Chu And The Philly Flash"; and the CBS movie of the week, "Portrait of a Showgirl", starring Rita Moreno, Leslie Ann Warren and Tony Curtis.

Merrill also created several TV Christmas specials including "The Wonderful Christmas of Red Riding Hood", with Liza Minnelli and "Mr. Magoo's Christmas Carol", with an all-star cast.

Suffering from depression and ill health, Bob Merrill took his own life on February 17, 1998 in Los Angeles, California.

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Bob Merrill News

Review Roundup: FUNNY GIRL Launches National Tour; What Are the Critics Saying?

The National Tour of Funny Girl launched in September in Providence, Rhode Island. Read the reviews for Funny Girl here!

RUSSELL BRAUER SINGS FOR ONE HOUR (AND 15 MINUTES) to Return to the Pangea in October and November

Russell Brauer will return to Pangea for an encore performance of his show 'Russell Brauer Sings For One Hour (and 15 Minutes).' Get event information here!

Review: FUNNY GIRL at Providence Performing Arts Center

Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) kicks off the 2023/2024 theater season with the national tour launch of the long-awaited revival of the legendary Broadway musical, “Funny Girl.”

Which Shows Had the Biggest Overhaul From Out-of-Town Tryout to Broadway Opening?

This time, the reader question was: which Broadway shows had the biggest overhaul from their out-of-town tryout to their Broadway opening?

Hello, Gorgeous: FUNNY GIRL is Produced for the First Time in Brazil

Funny Girl gets a Brazilian production directed by Barchilon, starring Giulia Nadruz and Eriberto Leao as protagonists. With score by J. Styne, and lyrics by B. Merrill, the semi-biographical plot is based on the life and career of comedian and Broadway star Fanny Brice, featuring her stormy relationship with entrepreneur and gambler Nick Arnstein.

Listen: Two New Barbra Streisand Albums Set For Release In October, Listen to the First Track!

Two new albums featuring Barbra Streisand will be released next month. EVERGREENS: Celebrating Six Decades on Columbia Records and YENTL: 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition will both be available on Friday, October 27. Learn more about both albums, and how to pre-order them now, here!

Video: FUNNY GIRL Tour's Katerina McCrimmon Sings 'Don't Rain On My Parade'

We have your first listen to Katerina McCrimmon singing 'Don't Rain on My Parade' from Funny Girl. McCrimmon will lead the upcoming North American tour of Funny Girl as Fanny Brice. Check out the video here!

Watch as Lea Michele Surprises Final FUNNY GIRL Audience with 'My Man' Encore

Watch at the end of the performance, when as did Barbra Streisand after her final show, Lea Michele surprised everyone by singing 'My Man' as an Encore. 

Lea Michele Bids Farewell to FUNNY GIRL in Emotional Instagram Post

Lea Michele has penned an emotional goodbye to the role of Fanny Brice in the Funny Girl revival, which plays its final performance Sunday, September 3rd.

Lea Michele Will Be Out Of Both FUNNY GIRL Performances August 30th

Lea Michele will be out of both performances of Funny Girl as she is under the weather, per an announcement from the production. Julie Benko will play Fanny Brice at both performances today, and her regularly scheduled performance tomorrow. Lea Michele is expected to return to the show Friday, September 1st.

Lea Michele Will Be Out Of FUNNY GIRL Tonight; August 29, 2023

Lea Michele will be out of tonight's 7pm performance of Funny Girl as she is under the weather, per an announcement from the production. The production also stars Tony and Olivier Award  nominee Ramin Karimloo, 2022 Tony & Drama Desk Award nominee and Chita Rivera Award winner Jared Grimes and four-time Tony Award nominee Tovah Feldshuh.

FUNNY GIRL Breaks Own Box Office Record in Final Weeks

With just eight performances remaining, the first-ever Broadway revival of Funny Girl has broken its own box office record for the highest grossing 8-performance week at the August Wilson Theatre for the week ending August 27 with a final gross of $2,133,143.44.

Broadway Buying Guide: August 28, 2023

Looking for the best deals on Broadway shows? Welcome to our new weekly guide to the most popular shows listed on BroadwayWorld. Check out which shows are selling this week, August 28, 2023.

FUNNY GIRL Tour to Play The Hippodrome in October - Tickets Available Now!

FUNNY GIRL, the sensational musical comedy revival, will come to the historic Hippodrome Theatre at the France-Merrick Performing Arts Center for a limited one-week engagement from October 24 – October 29, 2023.

Single Tickets For FUNNY GIRL, COMPANY, MRS. DOUBTFIRE And More On Sale At Fabulous Fox, September 5

Single tickets for nine shows in the Fabulous Fox Theatre's 2023 – 2024 Broadway Series will go on sale Tuesday, September 5 at 10:00 a.m. CT.

Broadway Buying Guide: August 14, 2023

Looking for the best deals on Broadway shows? Welcome to our new weekly guide to the most popular shows listed on BroadwayWorld. Check out which shows are selling this week, August 14, 2023.

FUNNY GIRL North American Tour Unveils Full Cast and Schedule

Discover the full cast and tour dates for the highly anticipated FUNNY GIRL North American Tour. Don't miss out on this exciting production of the beloved musical.

FUNNY GIRL Broadway Revival Recoups Investment

The first-ever  Broadway revival of FUNNY GIRL has recouped its $16.5 million capitalization after opening in April 2022 at the August  Wilson Theatre. 

Photos: White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre Attends FUNNY GIRL

Over the weekend, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre was in New York and attended FUNNY GIRL starring Lea Michele. She stayed after the show, met the cast and took some photos with the company. Check out the photos here!

FUNNY GIRL Comes to Grand Rapids Next Month

FUNNY GIRL, the sensational musical comedy revival, is coming to DeVos Performance Hall for its Michigan premiere during a limited one-week engagement from September 19 to September 24. This kicks off the Broadway Grand Rapids 35th Anniversary season.


Bob Merrill has written 16 shows including Breakfast at Tiffany's (Composer/Lyricist), New Girl in Town (Composer/Lyricist), Take Me Along (Composer/Lyricist), Carnival! (Composer), Hello, Dolly! (Composer/Lyricist), Funny Girl (Lyricist), Henry, Sweet Henry (Composer/Lyricist), Prettybelle (Bookwriter/Lyricist), The Prince of Grand Street (Bookwriter/Composer/Lyricist), The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood (Lyricist), Hannah... 1939 (Bookwriter/Composer/Lyricist), Some Like It Hot (Lyricist), Carnival (Composer), Patti LuPone: Matters of the Heart (Composer), Barbara Cook's Broadway! (Composer), Take Me Along (Lyricist).

Bob Merrill has been nominated for several awards throughout his career. Some of his notable nominations include Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre at the Tony Awards for Funny Girl. He was also nominated for Best Musical at the Tony Awards for Carnival and Take Me Along. In addition, Merrill received a nomination for Best Musical at the New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for Carnival! and a nomination for Best Musical at the Tony Awards for New Girl In Town.

Bob Merrill has won the Best Musical award from the New York Drama Critics Circle Awards for his work on Carnival!.

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