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Broadway and Hollywood Remember Stephen Sondheim: ‘He Was God to Many of Us’

Sondheim's death on Friday at the age of 91 came as a shock to many.

Stephen Sondheim, American musical and film composer and lyricist, seen her Jan. 26, 1982. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)

Stephen Sondheim


Stephen Sondheim died peacefully at his home in Connecticut on Friday at the age of 91, leaving behind an irreplaceable legacy of all-time classic musicals, from “Into the Woods” to “Company,” “Sweeney Todd,” and “West Side Story.” His 70-plus-year career included an Oscar win, multiple Grammy wins, and a bevy of Tony Awards, and soon his “West Side Story” lyrics will return to the big screen with Steven Spielberg’s upcoming reimagining of the Leonard Bernstein-scored musical.

Sondheim’s death came as a shock to many in the film and theater communities, as he was known for his dynamic persona (and even very recently gave an interview to The New York Times and visited “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert”). Collaborators and friends took to social media to remember the icon, including Steven Spielberg, who offered this statement to Deadline:

“Stephen Sondheim was a gigantic figure in American culture — one of our country’s greatest songwriters, a lyricist and composer of real genius, and a creator of some of the most glorious musical dramas ever written. Steve and I became friends only recently, but we became good friends, and I was surprised to discover he knew more about movies than almost anyone I’d ever met. When we spoke, I couldn’t wait to listen, awestruck by the originality of his perceptions of art, politics and people — all delivered brilliantly by his mischievous wit and dazzling words. I will miss him very much, but he left a body of work that has taught us, and will keep teaching us, how hard and how absolutely necessary it is to love.”

See more reactions from the stage and screen communities below.

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