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Famous Writer, Thomas Meehan Dies At 88

Three-time Tony Award-winning book writer Thomas Meehan, best known for transforming the Little Orphan Annie cartoon strip into the smash Broadway musical Annie, has died at age 88. Meehan, who had been ill for about five months and had undergone surgery, died at his home in Manhattan late Monday or early Tuesday, longtime friend and Annie collaborator Martin Charnin said.

 

Meehan wrote the books for three shows that ran over 2,000 performances on Broadway: Annie with 2,377 performances, The Producers with Mel Brooks at 2,502 performances and Hairspray with Mark O'Donnell at 2,642 performances.

 

"I wrote stories that were serious, very somber, trying to be in the style of William Faulkner," Meehan told the Observer newspaper in 1999. "My career has always been that every time I try something really serious, it's no good, but if I try to be funny, then it works."

 

Tributes poured in on social media, including from Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, who called Meehan "one of the best around," and from actress Kate Shindle, head of the Actors' Equity Association, who called his death a "great loss."

Meehan's other shows include Young Frankenstein with Brooks, Cry-Baby with O'Donnell, Elf with Bob Martin, Chaplin with Christopher Curtis, Bombay Dreams with Meera Syal and the musical Rocky with Sylvester Stallone.

 

Meehan began his career as a writer with The New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" section and later earned an Emmy Award nomination in 1964 as one of the writers of the TV series That Was the Week That Was. Meehan is survived by his wife.

Photo Credit: 
broadway.com

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