Sheldon Harnick

Johnny Mercer Award

Lyricist Sheldon Harnick, after his long series of Broadway musical hits in association with friend and collaborator, Jerry Bock, added a brand new feather to his cap. Assisted by his wife, Margery Gray, and Leigh Beery, he concluded a three week engagement at New York’s elegant “Rainbow and Stars,” presenting selections from his work for the Broadway theater. The scintillating production won the plaudits of all manner of club-going reviewers.

Nearly 30 years ago, at the dawn of his brilliant Broadway career, Harnick won a Pulitzer prize, Tony award and New York Drama Critics award for “Fiorello,”
the musical based on the life of New York’s legendary and beloved mayor, Fiorello LaGuardia. He won a Grammy award for “She Loves Me,” a New York Drama Critics award and a gold record for “Fiddler on the Roof,” (which is also being honored this evening); all with music by Jerry Bock. He also collaborated with Bock on the scores for the musicals, “The Body Beautiful,” Tenderloin,” “The Apple Tree” and “The Rothschilds,” and with Richard Rodgers on “Rex.”

Harnick also did the English Adaptation of Joseph Demy’s French text for Joseph Papp’s production of “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg,” with music by Michel Legrand (who is being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame this evening). Harnick is well known as a translator and adaptor, with works commissioned by The New York State Theater, The Mark Taper Forum, The Metropolitan Opera, The Houston Grand Opera and The Bach Aria Group.

He was also represented with lyrics on the popular gold record-winning children’s album, “Free to Be You and Me,” and has written theme lyrics for the films, “The Heartbreak Kid,” and “Blame It on Rio.” He also received an Emmy nomination for his lyrics for the theme song of “The Way We Were.”

Harnick was a member of the Dramatists Guild, The Songwriters Guild of America, and was inducted in 1972 into The Songwriters Hall of Fame.