'Fiddler on the Roof' Composer Jerry Bock Dies at 81

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Tony winner also collaborated with lyricist Sheldon Harnick on musicals including 'She Loves Me,' 'Fiorello!' and 'The Rothschilds.'

Jerry Bock, the Tony-winning composer who wrote the score to Fiddler on the Roof and several other musicals, died Wednesday of heart failure, his friend and lawyer Richard Ticktin told Playbill.com. He was 81.

Bock died early Wednesday at Northern Westchester Medical Center in Mount Kisco, N.Y., four days after having a stroke.

Bock's Fiddler compositions included such well-known tunes as "If I Were a Rich Man," "Sunrise, Sunset" and"Matchmaker, Matchmaker." In adapting Sholom Aleichem's tales of a dairyman in late-19th-century Russia, Bock "drew on the rich musical heritage of Jewish prayer and klezmer music, while staying within the framework of musical theatre songwriting traditions," Playbill.com wrote.

The show was an instant hit when it debuted in 1964. It ran for six years and has been revived many times on tour and on Broadway.

With his longtime creative partner, lyricist Sheldon Harnick, the prolific Bock also composed the scores for She Loves Me, Fiorello! and The Rothschilds.

The duo had a falling-out in 1970, and Bock's career as a Broadway composer essentially came to an end after their partnership dissolved. Nearly 40 years later, they reunited to write a new song, "Topsy Turvy," for Fiddler's most recent revival.

Bock's lawyer told Playbill.com that the composer had recently been writing music and lyrics for a new musical, Counterpoint, based on a script by Evan Hunter that was being adapted by Stuart Ostrow.

Bock is survived by wife Patti, daughter Portia, son George and granddaughter Edie Mae Shipler. His passing comes less than two weeks after the death of Fiddler librettist Joseph Stein, who died Oct. 24 at age 98.

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