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Subject: Fiddler on the Roof composer Jerry Bock dies

Written By: Philip Eno on 11/04/10 at 2:07 pm

Jerry Bock, who composed the scores for some of Broadway's most successful musicals including Fiddler on the Roof and Fiorello!, has died.

Composed with lyricist Sheldon Harnick, Fiorello! earned three Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize after opening in 1959.

The pair created songs including If I Were a Rich Man and Sunrise Sunset for Fiddler on the Roof five years later, and the show won a total of nine Tonys.

Mr Bock, 81, suffered heart failure, lawyer and friend Richard Ticktin said.

Mr Bock recently spoke at a memorial service for Fiddler on the Roof playwright Joseph Stein, who died on 24 October.

The composer suffered a stroke at the weekend and died four days later.

"So now two of the three creators of Fiddler on the Roof have passed away within three weeks of each other," Mr Ticktin told the Associated Press (AP) news agency.

"The world will remember him as a gentle human being with great talent who was a collaborator in musical theatre."

Mr Harnick, who collaborated with Mr Bock for 13 years, told AP he was "wonderful to work with".

"I think in all of the years that we worked together, I only remember one or two arguments - and those were at the beginning of the collaboration when we were still feeling each other out," he said.

"Once we got past that, he was wonderful to work with."

Mr Bock's first Broadway show was 1956's Mr Wonderful, which also gave Sammy Davis Jr his Broadway debut.

The composer found major success after teaming up with Mr Harnick for the musical biography of New York mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, with Tom Bosley in the title role.

Their greatest achievement, Fiddler on the Roof, opened in 1964 and ran for an initial eight years and 3,200 performances.

It received a special Tony Award in 1972 after becoming the longest-running musical in Broadway history.

The show was turned into a movie in 1971, winning three Academy Awards.

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