×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Annie’ Creator Martin Charnin Dies at 84

Martin Charnin, a Tony-winning lyricist and writer best known for creating and directing the Broadway musical Annie,” died Saturday after suffering a heart attack. He was 84.

His daughter confirmed the news, writing on Facebook, “Our father passed away. Martin Charnin lived a very full life. He was watching Family Feud at the end, laughing with Shelly in bed at the hospital. Which way do we go Daddy? Damn. But like he said and as corny as this sounds…the sun’ll will come out tomorrow.”

Though he is best known for his work behind the scenes, Charnin got his start on stage as Big Deal in the original 1957 Broadway production of “West Side Story.” He also went on to appear alongside Dick Van Dyke in the 1959 revue “The Girls Against the Boys.”

Soon after, Charnin began writing lyrics as part of the cabaret circuit, working with a number of prominent artists including impresario Julius Monk and composer Mary Rodgers.  Other projects included Vernon Duke’s musical “Zenda,” the Off-Broadway “Ballad for a Firing Squad” and the 1970 musical “Two By Two,” which he wrote lyrics for alongside Richard Rodgers and Peter Stone.

At the same time, Charnin turned his sights to television where he won an Emmy for producing “Annie, the Woman in the Life of a Man,which starred starred Anne Bancroft in 14 different musical sketches. He was nominated three more times, winning again in 1972 for “S Wonderful, ’S Marvelous, ’S Gershwin.”

In 1977, “Annie” opened on Broadway after Charnin optioned the Depression-era comic “Little Orphan Annie” from the Tribune Company. The musical scored 10 Tony nominations and won seven, including one for best musical. Charnin went on to work on a number of Broadway productions including “Bar Mitzvah Boy,” “Remember Mama,” “The First,” “A Little Family Business,” “Cafe Crown,” “Sid Caesar & Company” and “The Flowering Peach.”

He is survived by his wife, all of his children and his three grandchildren.

More Legit

  • Lucas Hnath

    Listen: Lucas Hnath's Own Play Gives Him Nightmares

    Tony-nominated playwright Lucas Hnath (“A Doll’s House, Part 2”) has two shows in New York this season: a monologue based on the real-life experiences of his mother, and a ghost story. One of them gave him nightmares — but it wasn’t the ghost story. Listen to this week’s podcast below: He explained why on the [...]

  • Greater Clements review

    'Greater Clements': Theater Review

    The American Dream and all of its values have taken quite a beating lately. Director and screenwriter Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story,” Bruce Springsteen’s recent “Western Stars” album, even Ralph Lauren in the documentary “Very Ralph” show us how this country and all of its totems and merits have gone asunder. No dreams are more crushed, [...]

  • Harry Connick Jr Walk of Fame

    Harry Connick Jr. on Returning to Broadway

    Harry Connick Jr. is headed back to Broadway with a three-week limited engagement celebration of legendary songwriter Cole Porter. The actor and musician came up with the concept for the show and is also directing. “I love Broadway and if I had two careers one of them would be only Broadway just because I love [...]

  • Jagged Little Pill review

    Broadway Review: 'Jagged Little Pill'

    Nearly 25 years after “Jagged Little Pill” hit the shelves of record stores, Alanis Morissette’s innovative 1995 album has arrived on Broadway under the muscular direction of Diane Paulus, who launched this galvanic production at the American Repertory Theater. The show’s supportive book by screenwriter Diablo Cody interprets Morissette’s musical idiom as a universal domestic [...]

  • Claire Warden

    Listen: Let's Talk About Sex Onstage

    The craft of intimacy direction is taking Broadway by storm — and on the latest episode of Variety’s Stagecraft, Broadway’s first intimacy director explains why, and breaks down the ways in which she’s helping to revolutionize how actors get intimate onstage. Listen to this week’s podcast below: Warden, whose credits this season include “Jagged Little [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content