Les Miserables lyricist and journalist Herbert Kretzmer dead

Herbert Kretzmer has died at the age of 95, with tributes pouring in from those who knew him and admired his work.

The South African-born writer was best known for writing the lyrics for the English-language adaptation of musical Les Miserables.

The stage production opened in 1985 and is still running now, although it is currently on a temporary break until 2021 due to Covid-19.

It was his work with French singer Charles Aznavour that landed him the Les Mis lyricist job, as Kretzmer wrote a number of songs with him.

As well as musical work, Kretzmer was a journalist and moved to London in the mid-1950s, working on the Sunday Dispatch and the Daily Express, as well as the Daily Mail.

He gave up his day job as a journalist at the age of 61 after Les Mis "changed [his] life".

Kretzmer also worked on other West End shows including Our Man Crichton and The Four Musketeers.

Cameron Mackintosh, who produced Les Miserables, paid tribute to his former colleague.

He said: "It is terribly sad to hear that the great Herbert Kretzmer passed away last night. His wonderful words for Les Miserables will live on in his memory forever more. God bless you, Herbie."

Meanwhile, fellow lyricist Sir Tim Rice tweeted: "The great lyricist and man of theatre and popular song, Herbert Kretzmer, has died. From Les Mis to She, TW3, Goodness Gracious Me and so much more he was a giant of his trade. RIP Herbie."

In a 2013 interview with The Guardian, Kretzmer explained he didn't quite translate the lyrics of the original French version of Les Miserables.

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