High Spirits Composer-Lyricist Timothy Gray Is Dead at 79

Obituaries   High Spirits Composer-Lyricist Timothy Gray Is Dead at 79
 
Timothy Gray, the lyricist who collaborated with Hugh Martin, died March 17 in Sarasota, FL. He was 79.

Mr. Gray was nominated for three Tony Awards for his work with Martin on the Broadway show High Spirits, which ran for 365 performances in 1964 and 1965. The two collaborated on the music, lyrics and book for the show, a musical treatment of Noel Coward's play Blithe Spirit that starred Edward Woodward, Tammy Grimes and Beatrice Lillie and was directed by Coward himself.

Martin and Gray labored over the score and script for nearly a decade before it reached the stage. According to Coward's diaries, he had grown impatient with the slow pace and was ready to turn down the project. But Coward was so impressed when Martin and Gray auditioned the score for him, he gave the show the green light. "It is quite brilliant," he wrote. "The music is melodic and delightful, the lyrics really witty."

The show's songs include "Was She Prettier Than I?," "The Bicycle Song," "Something is Coming to Tea," "You'd Better Love Me," "Go Into Your Trance," "Where Is the Man I Married?," "Faster Than Sound," "Forever and a Day," "Something Tells Me," "I Know Your Heart," "If I Gave You," "Talking to You," "Home Sweet Heaven" and more.

London and Broadway cast albums of High Spirits preserve the writers' work.

He also contributed to Martin's Broadway musical Make a Wish, the 1951 musical based on Molnar's The Good Fairy. He composed special material for Kaye Ballard, Tallulah Bankhead, Patrice Munsel, Lana Turner and Edie Adams. Born Sept. 5, 1927, in Chicago, IL, Mr. Gray's career in show business began in vaudeville. He later worked in many areas of the trade, taking jobs as an actor, singer, producer, vocal coach and musical supervisor.

After being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999, he moved from New York City to Sarasota in 2002.

Mr. Gray is survived by Carlo Thomas, his life partner of 36 years, a sister Violet Gray Fabbri, nieces Terri Chonez, Bonnie Fabbri of Minden, NE, Sandra Gray Seems, Lani Lee Seems of Genoa City, WI.

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