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.

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