Donald Swann, piano-playing half of the quintessentially British revue act Flanders and Swann, died March 23 in England of cancer. He was 70.
Born in Wales to Russian parents, Swann started as a freelance composer and accompanist after World War II and, along with lyricist Michael Flanders, contributed to shows and revues from the early ’50s.
The first onstage teaming of the two was in the revue “At the Drop of a Hat” (1956), which ran for 808 performances after transferring to London’s Fortune Theatre. The show moved to Broadway in 1959 and after 215 performances went on a coast-to-coast tour of the U.S. and Canada.
A sequel, “At the Drop of Another Hat,” proved equally successful in 1963.
In 1967 the two parted amicably. Flanders, who had been wheelchair-bound from polio all his professional life, died in 1975.
Survivors include his wife and two daughters.