×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Broadway, TV and Film Writer Jerome Kass Dies at 78

Jerome Kass, who co-wrote the 1978 musical “Ballroom” based on his own teleplay, died of prostate cancer Oct. 22 at his Manhattan home. He was 78.

Kass, who was married to fellow writer Delia Ephron, was nominated for a Tony Award for the book to “Ballroom,” the musical that was director-choreographer Michael Bennett’s followup to “A Chorus Line.” Kass, who collaborated on the show with composer Billy Goldenberg and co-lyricists Alan and Marilyn Bergman, based the story on “Queen of the Stardust Ballroom,” his 1975 teleplay, which earned him an Emmy nomination.

The storyline of both the TV movie and the musical revolved around a Bronx widow’s visits to a local dance hall, where a romance with a married man is sparked. Maureen Stapleton and Charles Durning starred in the smallscreen original, while the Broadway incarnation, which ran four months, starred Dorothy Loudon and Vincent Gardenia.

His other screen outings included the 1973 teleplay “A Brand New Life,” which starred Cloris Leachman, and 1983 feature film “The Black Stallion Returns.” He also wrote Off Broadway plays as well as the 1985 TV miniseries “Evergreen,” which starred Lesley Ann Warren.

Born Jerome Allan Kass in Chicago on April 21, 1937, Kass was raised in the Bronx by a father who worked in costume jewelry and a mother who ran a collectibles store. He attended New York University and later studied at the graduate level both there and at Brandeis University.

He is survived by Ephron, whom he married in 1982, as well as two children, Julie and Adam, from a first marriage.

More Legit

  • CAROL CHANNING HERSCHFELD. Actress Carol Channing

    Remembering Carol Channing: A Master of Channeling the Power of Personality

    There was only one Carol Channing, and her outsize personality was a source of delight to many fans — and imitators. Gerard Alessandrini’s stage spoof “Forbidden Broadway” had many incarnations over the years, including the 1994 edition when an audience member was selected every evening to come onstage and impersonate Carol Channing with the cast. [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda Among Celebrities Remembering Carol Channing

    Viola Davis, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bernadette Peters are among the slew of celebrities taking to Twitter to pay tribute to late singer, comedienne and actress Carol Channing. Known for her starring roles in Broadway’s “Hello Dolly!” and “Gentleman Prefer Blondes,” the legend of the stage and screen died Tuesday at her home in Rancho Mirage, [...]

  • What the Constitution Means to Me

    Listen: How Things Got Scary in 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    For a decade, writer-performer Heidi Schreck had wanted to write a play inspired by her experiences as a teen debater. But over the years the show started to develop into something both urgently political and deeply personal — and things got scary. In the Broadway-bound “What the Constitution Means to Me,” Schreck reimagines her speech-and-debate [...]

  • Carol Channing Dead

    Carol Channing, Star of Broadway's 'Hello, Dolly!' and 'Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,' Dies at 97

    Larger-than-life musical stage personality Carol Channing, who immortalized the characters of Lorelei Lee in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” and Dolly Gallagher Levi in “Hello, Dolly!,” has died. She was 97. Channing died Tuesday of natural causes at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. Her publicist B. Harlan Boll confirmed the news. He wrote, “It is with [...]

  • 'What the Constitution Means to Me'

    'What the Constitution Means to Me' Transfers to Broadway

    “What the Constitution Means to Me,” a buzzy Off-Broadway production that counts Hillary Clinton and Gloria Steinem among its fans, is making the move uptown. The play will come to Broadway this spring for a 12-week limited run at the Helen Hayes Theater. “What the Constitution Means to Me” is one part civics lesson, one [...]

  • Choir Boy review

    Broadway Review: 'Choir Boy'

    Honestly, I was afraid that “Choir Boy” — the sweetly exuberant account of a gifted prep school boy’s coming of age, written by “Moonlight” Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney — would be swallowed up in a Broadway house, after winning us over in an Off Broadway staging in 2013.  But aside from the odd set [...]

  • Jason Robert Brown

    Listen: How Ariana Grande Got Jason Robert Brown to Madison Square Garden

    Broadway composer Jason Robert Brown never expected to find himself performing onstage at Madison Square Garden. But he did — thanks to his pal Ariana Grande. Brown met Grande before she was a superstar, when she was in the 2008 Broadway cast of his teen musical “13.” The two have kept in touch ever since [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content