×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Thomas Meehan, Co-Writer of Broadway’s ‘Annie’ and ‘The Producers,’ Dies at 88

Thomas Meehan, the co-writer of Broadway hits “Annie,” “The Producers,” and “Hairspray,” has died. He was 88.

The winner of three Tony Awards, Meehan was one of Broadway’s most prominent librettists. He won his first Tony Award for the book to “Annie,” the iconic 1977 smash on which he collaborated with composer Charles Strouse and lyricist-director Martin Charnin. He went on to win a Tony for “The Producers” (for the book he co-wrote with Mel Brooks) and one for “Hairspray” (co-written with Mark O’Donnell).

He also wrote for film and television, with big-screen work that included co-writing credits on “To Be or Not to Be” (1983) and “Spaceballs” (1987). In 1970, he won an Emmy Award as the co-writer of “Annie: The Women in the Life of a Man,” a TV special centered around Anne Bancroft.

Born Aug. 14, 1929 in Ossining, N.Y., Meehan went to Hamilton College in New York state and began his professional life as a writer for the New Yorker. His comic pieces in that magazine brought him to the attention of Charnin, who enlisted him as a writer on Bancroft’s TV special, which Charnin produced.

That initial job with Charnin led Meehan to his work on “Annie,” which was one of Broadway’s biggest hits at the time and went on to become a regional theater staple (and a cash cow for its creators). Strouse, Charnin, and Meehan made two attempts at a sequel to the show: The first, “Annie 2: Miss Hannigan’s Revenge,” earned poor notices in its 1989 premiere at the Kennedy Center, but a 1993 try, “Annie Warbucks,” played Off Broadway.

Meehan also wrote the book for musicals “I Remember Mama” (1979), “Bombay Dreams” (2004), “Young Frankenstein” (2007), “Elf” (2010), and “Rocky” (2014), among others.

More Legit

  • Stephen Moore

    Stephen Moore, 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy' Android, 'Doctor Who' Actor, Dies at 81

    Stephen Moore, best known for his roles as the paranoid android Marvin in “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” radio series and the Silurian Eldane in “Doctor Who,” has died. He was 81. “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” producer Dirk Maggs confirmed Moore’s death Sturday on Twitter, writing, “Our dear friend Stephen Moore has [...]

  • Ben Platt Variety Power of New

    Ben Platt on Coming Out and the Queerness of 'The Politician'

    Ben Platt never imagined he would one day star in a series like “The Politician.” “I didn’t think I could be a star of a show in general starting out. I think I was like, ‘I’ll do Broadway. I can be on stage and I can play Jimmy in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and Nathan Detroit [...]

  • Michael Jackson in concert in Milton

    Michael Jackson Musical to Open on Broadway in Summer 2020

    “MJ,” a musical based on the life and career of Michael Jackson, will open on Broadway in summer 2020. Preview performances will start July 6 before its official debut on Aug. 13. The stage show, which will include songs like “Beat It,” “Billie Jean,” “The Way You Make Me Feel,” and “Smooth Criminal,” was originally [...]

  • The Wrong Man review

    Off Broadway Review: 'The Wrong Man'

    Credit songwriter Ross Golan for the seamless quality of “The Wrong Man,” his mesmerizing musical about a good man who deserves a good life but seems to attract nothing but bad luck. The show’s inventive book, music, and lyrics were all penned by this multi-hyphenate talent who was named 2016 BMI Pop Songwriter of the [...]

  • Kristin Chenoweth Broadway

    Listen: Kristin Chenoweth Wants to Write a Broadway Musical

    Kristin Chenoweth doesn’t just want to star in Broadway musicals. She’s thinking about writing one, too. Listen to this week’s podcast below: “I think about it a lot,” Chenoweth said on the latest episode of “Stagecraft,” Variety‘s theater podcast. “I want someone to collaborate with me on a story I have, and it would be [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content