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Last Updated: Monday, 13 September, 2004, 07:26 GMT 08:26 UK
Chicago and Cabaret lyricist dies
Fred Ebb with Chita Rivera
Fred Ebb scored material for musical stars including Chita Rivera
The man who wrote the lyrics to hit musicals Chicago and Cabaret has died of a heart attack.

Fred Ebb was also responsible for the lyrics to the song New York, New York, sung most memorably by Frank Sinatra.

He died at his New York home, an assistant to Ebb's longtime musical collaborator John Kander confirmed.

Ebb and Kander scored 11 Broadway musicals, with their compositions sung by leading ladies including Liza Minnelli and Chita Rivera.

It is thought Ebb was 76 at the time of his death, but director Scott Ellis, who worked alongside home, said he was "sweetly vague" about his age.


Ebb and Kander's collaborations included Kiss of the Spider Woman, Zorba, The Rink and Woman of the Year, in a partnership lasting four decades.

They also worked closely with Minnelli, writing material for her Broadway shows and television specials.

It was for a Minnelli film that New York, New York was written, the 1977 movie of the same name directed by Martin Scorsese.

Among Ebb's awards, along with Kander, were a clutch of Tony Awards for Cabaret and Woman of the Year.

Their score also helped secure the best picture Oscar for Chicago in 2002.

Educated at New York and Columbia Universities, Ebb began writing for small revue shows.

He teamed up with Kander in the 1960s, with their first song, My Coloring Book, recorded by Barbra Streisand.

Staying power

Their first Broadway show was Flora, the Red Menace, starring Minnelli, who was 19 at the time.

They then created a score to accompany a show based on Christopher Isherwood's Berlin Stories and the play I Am a Camera.

Entitled Cabaret, the musical opened in 1966 and ran for 1,165 performances, with several revivals in the past 20 years.

The talent to create an enduring score is evident in the staying power of Chicago, which is still running on both Broadway and London's West End, drawing in new audiences and dedicated fans.

Ebb had been working on a number of productions with Kander at the time of his death including revising Over and Over, and a murder-mystery musical called Curtains.

His funeral will be held on Tuesday.

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