Ms. Rodgers grew up in a household steeped in music and theatre culture. She was born Jan. 11, 1931, to Richard Rodgers and his wife Dorothy Bell Feiner Rodgers. When still in her 20s, she wrote, with lyricist Marshall Barer and bookwriters Jay Thompson and Dean Fuller, Once Upon a Mattress, a musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fable "The Princess and the Pea." The musical later arrived on Broadway in 1959 and made a star out of its lead actress, Carol Burnett, who made comic hay out of the awkward Princess Winnifred. Burnett and the musical received Tony nominations.
The scion of a musical giant, Mary Rodgers became the mother of a notable composer when her son with Henry Guettel, Adam, began producing work in the 1990s.