Writer Roger O. Hirson, a Tony Award Nominee for Pippin, Dies at 93

Obituaries   Writer Roger O. Hirson, a Tony Award Nominee for Pippin, Dies at 93
 
Mr. Hirson collaborated with composer Stephen Schwartz on the 1972 musical.
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Photo: Martha Swope/New York Public Library

Roger O. Hirson, who earned a Best Book Tony Award nomination for his work on the musical Pippin, died May 27 at the age of 93. His death was confirmed to the New York Times by his son, playwright David Hirson.

Mr. Hirson met Pippin composer Stephen Schwartz in 1969—three years before the musical would open on Broadway—as Schwartz (then a student) searched for a potential collaborator on the project.

Though Mr. Hirson was more than twice Schwartz’s age, the two melded their combined experience and perspectives to tell the medieval coming-of-age tale, which went on to earn 11 Tony Award nominations (winning five) and run for over four years.

Prior to Pippin, Mr. Hirson—alongside Ketti Frings—penned the book to the 1967 Broadway musical Walking Happy. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s Hirson wrote episodes for such television anthologies as The Goodyear Television Playhouse, The Alcoa Hour, Playhouse 90, and The Sunday Showcase.

Later in life, the writer returned to the small screen, crafting the screenplay for the 1991 Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis–centered miniseries A Woman Named Jackie.

Born May 5, 1926, in New York, Mr. Hirson served in the U.S. Army during World War II before studying English at Yale University. In addition to David, Mr. Hirson is survived by son Christopher and a grandson.

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