An outpouring of tributes is being paid to Les Miserables lyricist and “giant of his trade” Herbert Kretzmer, who has died at the age of 95 – as the news was also confirmed on social media by family and friends.
Born in South Africa, Kretzmer moved to London in 1954 and worked as a journalist as well as a songwriter.
He wrote songs for BBC satire That Was The Week That Was, and won an Ivor Novello Award for the comedy hit Goodness Gracious Me, performed by Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren. He also worked with French singer Charles Aznavour on his 1974 hit She, which topped the charts in the UK.
However, it is the much-loved English language lyrics for world-renowned musical Les Miserables that he is best known for.
Kretzmer was also a credited screenwriter and the credited lyricist for the Oscar-Winning Movie version of the hit West End and Broadway Musical which starred Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Eddie Redmayne, Helena Bonham Carter and Sacha Baron Cohen.
He also wrote the book and lyrics for the West End musical Our Man Crichton, and the lyrics for The Four Musketeers as well as the English lyrics for the musical Marguerite.
Sir Tim Rice, best known for his musical collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber, tweeted: “The great lyricist and man of theatre and popular song, Herbert Kretzmer, has died.
“From Les Mis to She, TW3, Goodness Gracious Me and so much more he was a giant of his trade. RIP Herbie.”