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Doug Watt dies at 95

Longtime drama critic worked for Daily News

Longtime Daily News drama critic and songwriter Doug Watt died Sept. 29 in Southampton, N.Y. of natural causes. He was 95.

Watt graduated Cornell in 1934 and became a copy boy with the Daily News in the drama department, where he was employed until 1993.

He wrote the column Small World from 1955 to 1970, and appeared on the radio on WJZ and WEAF. In 1945 he was hired by William Shawn at The New Yorker to write about music. Watt continued reviewing plays at the Daily News while writing music profiles on opera, classical and popular music for the New Yorker, as well as The Tables for Two column from 1948-1957.

Among the productions he championed were “Porgy and Bess,” which was able to return to Broadway after his rave review.

A friend of Richard Rodgers, Irving Berlin, Kurt Weill, Frank Loesser and Cy Coleman, he was also a pianist, composer/and lyricist. He wrote songs such as “There’s Not a Moment to Spare,” “After All these Years,” “I’d Do It Again” and Heaven Help Me.” His songs were performed by artists including Doris Day, Frankie Laine and Mark Warnow.

Watt was one of the founders of The Drama Desk Awards, a member of the Drama Critics Circle, member of the nominating committee for The Theater World Awards, Tony Awards, and the Pulitzer Jury for Drama, Derwent Awards, Callaway Awards and chairman of the nominating committee for The Astaire Awards since their inception in 1980.

He is survived by his wife Ethel, two sons, two daughters and eight grandchildren.

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