Composer-lyricist Richard Adler, who won Tony Awards for co-writing the songs to the hit musicals “The Pajama Game” and “Damn Yankees," died Thursday at his home in Southampton, N.Y. He was 90.
Adler wrote pop songs as well, including "Rags to Riches" and "Hey There," which were No. 1 hits for Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney, respectively. The composer also staged shows for several Presidents, including the 1962 birthday party where a breathy Marilyn Monroe sang for John F. Kennedy.
Adler was born in New York City to a concert pianist and had a musical upbringing. After a tour in the Navy, he joined writing partner Jerry Ross, and under the wing of Broadway great Frank Loesser, the pair wrote three Broadway successes in as many years, starting in 1953 with "John Murray Anderson's Almanac." (The partnership was cut short in 1955 when Ross died from a lung infection.)
The romantic comedy “The Pajama Game," which first premiered on Broadway in 1954 starring Harry Belafonte and went on to 1,063 performances, was revived in 2006 with Harry Connick Jr. and Kelli O'Hara in the lead roles.