Fiddler On the Roof composer dies

Jerry Bock was widely considered one of the greatest musical composers of his era

Jerry Bock, often considered one of the greatest Broadway musical composers of the ’50s and ’60s, has died at the age of 81. Bock’s career took off in 1958 when he was teamed with lyricist Sheldon Harnick; they were chosen to write the score for Fiorello!, a musical about the former mayor of New York. The show ran for two years and won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. Bock and Harnick went on to write She Loves Me, often considered one of the best romantic-comedy musicals, but their biggest hit was Fiddler On the Roof, which won them many awards and gave them several enduring hit songs, including “If I Were a Rich Man.” The Bock-Harnick team wrote two more shows together, The Apple Tree and The Rothschilds, both moderate successes but not on the level of Fiddler; during the run of the latter show, the two fell out over arguments about who should be the director. They broke up soon after that, though they reunited to write a new song for a 2004 Fiddler on the Roof revival. Bock went into semi-retirement after that, living off his earnings from Fiddler, but he occasionally wrote film scores and won an Emmy for Best Children’s Song in 2006.

New York Times