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CY COLEMAN, TONY-AWARD WINNING MUSICAL COMPOSER
JUNE 14, 1929 -- NOV. 18, 2004

Cy Coleman, composer of the Broadway musicals "Sweet Charity" and "City of Angels" as well as such pop standards as "Witchcraft" and "The Best Is Yet to Come," has died of heart failure. He was 75.

Coleman died Thursday after attending the opening night performance and party for Michael Frayn's "Democracy" on Broadway. He left the party and went to New York Hospital, where he collapsed and died, a spokesman said.

Coleman, an accomplished jazz pianist, was known for his rhythmic, up-tempo style. His pop songs, which also included "Firefly" and "I'm Gonna Laugh You Right Out of My Life," were recorded by such singers as Tony Bennett, Peggy Lee and Nat "King" Cole.

In 1960, he composed his first full score, "Wildcat," with lyricist Carolyn Leigh. The show, which was a vehicle for Lucille Ball, contained the hit song "Hey Look Me Over."

The two then collaborated on "Little Me" (1962), starring television comedian Sid Caesar who played seven roles. The show, adapted by Neil Simon from the Patrick Dennis novel, contained such songs as "I've Got Your Number" and "Real Live Girl."

Coleman worked again with Simon on his third Broadway musical, "Sweet Charity" (1966), based on Federico Fellini's film, "Nights of Cabiria." With lyrics by Dorothy Fields, the musical was later made into a film starring Shirley Mac-Laine.

Fields and Coleman also collaborated on "Seesaw" (1973), starring Michele Lee, Ken Howard and Tommy Tune. The musical was based on William Gibson's play, "Two for the Seesaw."

"I Love My Wife" (1977), a tale of wife-swapping, was his next Broadway musical. Although dismissed by some critics, it ran for nearly two years.

For "On the Twentieth Century" (1978), a score he wrote with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Coleman received his first Tony Award -- one of three for best score. Based on the classic farce by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur, it featured John Cullum as an egomaniacal producer and Madeline Kahn as his tempestuous star.

He followed that with the music for "Barnum" (1980), based on the life of circus great Phineas T. Barnum, starring Jim Dale.

In 1989, Coleman composed the jazz-flecked music for "City of Angels," which many consider his best score. It won his second best-score Tony. A detective film-noir spoof, with lyrics by David Zippel, "City of Angels," also received the Tony Award for best musical in 1990.

The following year, Coleman (along with Comden and Green) received a best-score Tony, this time for "The Will Rogers Follies," a lavish look at the famous Oklahoma rope-spinner and storyteller, starring Keith Carradine.

Among his other Broadway musicals were the short-lived "Welcome to the Club" (1989) and "The Life" (1997), a tale of New York hookers. It was his last Broadway show.

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