Listen Live

Baylor Medicine offers a wide variety of healthcare specialties and services to our patients in order to deliver care that is competent, caring, and convenient. https://www.bcm.edu/healthcare

The man who penned the iconic lyrics from “Fiddler on the Roof” has died.

Sheldon Harnick was 99.

>> Read more trending news

His publicist said Harnick died in his sleep, The Associated Press reported.

Harnick was born and raised in Chicago. He served in the army during World War II and after the war, earned a bachelor’s degree in music from the Northwestern University School of Music. He went to New York to be a songwriter, the AP reported.

He wrote “The Ballad of the Shape of Things,” made famous by the Kingston Trio and “Boston Beguine” a spoof of Cole Porter.

Harnick was also part of the songwriting duo of Harnick and Bock with Harnick giving the words to Jerry Bock’s compositions.

They met at a restaurant, introduced to each other by actor Jack Cassidy after the opening of “Shangri-La,” a musical with lyrics partially written by Harnick.

The first show by Harnick and Bock was 1958′s “The Body Beautiful.”

Their first hit was the music and lyrics to “Fiorello!” The show earned them the Tonys and a Pulitzer Prize in 1960.

But that wasn’t the only time Harnick was recognized for his lyrics. He was also nominated for Tonys for “The Apple Tree” (1967), “The Rothschilds” (1971) and “Cyrano – the Musical” (1994).

The pair was best known for “Fiddler of the Roof” writing such hits as “Tradition,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” “If I Were a Rich Man” and “Matchmaker, Matchmaker.”

The show premiered in 1964 ran for six years and first starred Zero Mostel as Teyve, Playbill reported.

Harnick and Bock broke up after “The Rothschilds,” according to Playbill, with Harnick then calibrating with Michael Legrand, working on “The Umbrellas of Cherbourg” and a musical version of “A Christmas Carol.”

Bock died in 2010.

Harnick didn’t just keep his talents for the stage, he also wrote for television and singers including “William Wants a Doll” for Marlo Thomas’ show “Free to Be… You and Me,” the AP reported.

Harnick leaves behind his wife of 58 years, Margery Gray and their two children, according to Playbill.