Edward Padula, writer, director and Tony Award-winning producer of “Bye, Bye Birdie,” died of a heart attack Nov. 1 while attending a reading of one of his plays in Sag Harbor, N.Y. The Bridgehampton, N.Y., resident was 85.
Following graduation from Yale’s Graduate School of Drama, Padula landed a job as a writer-producer-director at NBC , but turned to Broadway in 1945, directing “The Day Before Spring,” an original musical. In 1960, he conceived and produced “Bye Bye Birdie,” which won him the Tony for best musical.
Padula produced Mel Brooks’ “All American,” in 1962 and collaborated with Brooks briefly on “Springtime for Hitler,” which later became Brooks’ 1968 hit movie and 2001 Broadway smash musical “The Producers.”
Padula’s final producing effort, the groundbreaking all-black musical “Don’t Bother Me, I Can’t Cope,” earned him a Tony nom in 1972 as well as the key to New York City.
Broadening his horizons in later years, Padula conceived and wrote the screen treatment for Francis Ford Coppola’s film, “The Cotton Club,” in 1984 and concieved and produced “A Joyful Noise,” which introduced Tommy Tune and was Michael Bennett’s first musical prior to “A Chorus Line.”
At the time of his death, Padula was engaged in writing a musical with Robert Mansell, “WillmS,” based on the life of William Shakespeare, and had several other projects in the works.
He is survived by his brother, a niece and nephew.