New York, November 19, 2004. ASCAP Board Vice - Chairman Cy Coleman, one of the all-time great composers of Broadway musicals died last night in
Cy Coleman was born Seymour Kaufman on
Leigh and Coleman became a Broadway team with Wildcat, starring Lucille Ball in 1960. The show ran for six months and featured "Hey, Look Me Over." 1962 brought another Broadway collaboration with Little Me, starring Sid Caesar. That show included "Real Live Girl" and "I've Got Your Number." Coleman's next Broadway venture was Sweet Charity, this time in collaboration with veteran lyricist Dorothy Fields. Gwen Verdon starred in this musical takeoff of the Fellini film, Nights of Cabiria and it became a major success, yielding the standards, "Big Spender" and "If My Friends Could See Me Now." The show was later made into a film, starring Shirley MacLaine. Subsequent Coleman musicals featured collaborations with different lyricists, ranging from Betty Comden & Adolph Green (1978's On the Twentieth Century and 1991's Will Rogers Follies) to Michael Stewart (1977's I Love My Wife and 1980's Barnum) and David Zippel (1990's City of Angels). Coleman received Tony Best Score honors for On the Twentieth Century, City of
Coleman film scores include Father Goose, The Art of Love, Garbo Talks and Family Business. In addition, he scored Shirley MacLaine's memorable television specials, If My Friends Could See Me Now and Gypsy in My Soul. Coleman was the recipient of numerous honors, including induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the Songwriters Hall of Fame Johnny Mercer Lifetime Achievement Award, and The ASCAP Foundation Richard Rodgers Award, among many others.
Commenting on the passing of Coleman, ASCAP President & Chairman Marilyn Bergman said, "Cy's intellect and integrity, coupled with his warmth and humor, made him a vital and effective presence on the ASCAP Board of Directors for 38 consecutive years, more than half of his life. He was dedicated to ASCAP, even as he pursued a world-class career as a composer. On a personal note, he was a great friend and great collaborator. Over the last year, Cy, Alan and I wrote the score for a new musical "Like Jazz" which is planned for Broadway in 2005. To work with him was to watch a creator in total command of his art. We will miss him – his voice, his friendship, his music."
Coleman joined ASCAP as a songwriter member in 1953 and was elected to the ASCAP Board of Directors in October 1966. He was very active in ASCAP and music industry affairs, frequently traveling to
2004 marks the 90th anniversary of the founding of ASCAP. As the world's largest Performing Rights Organization, ASCAP has nearly 200,000 composer, lyricist and music publisher members representing all genres of music. ASCAP is committed to protecting the rights of its members by licensing and collecting royalties for the public performance of their copyrighted works, and then distributing these fees to the Society's members based on performances. ASCAP's Board of Directors is made up solely of writers and publishers, elected by the membership every two years.