On August 22, Playbill reported that Tony-winning book writer Thomas Meehan had passed away at age 88. The author of such shows as Annie, I Remember Mama, Ain’t Broadway Grand, The Producers, Hairspray, Bombay Dreams, Young Frankenstein, Cry-Baby, Elf, Chaplin, and Rocky won Tony Awards for the books of three of his works: Annie (1977), The Producers (2001), and Hairspray (2003).
Collaborators of his, such as Mel Brooks—with whom he worked on The Producers and Young Frankenstein—as well as actors from his productions—Hunter Foster (The Producers), Kerry Butler (Hairspray), and Rob McClure (Chaplin), among others—took to Twitter to remember Meehan’s contributions.
Though he made his Broadway debut later in life, at the age of 47 with the classic Annie, Meehan proved that it’s never too late to pursue greatness.
Meehan is the only creative to have written the books for three shows that ran more than 2,000 performances on Broadway: the aforementioned Annie (2,377 performances), The Producers in 2001 alongside Mel Brooks (2,502 performances), and Hairspray in 2002, which he wrote with the late Mark O’Donnell (2,642 performances).
Stunned by the news that my friend/co-writer Tom Meehan has died. I’ll miss his sweetness & talent. We have all lost a giant of the theatre. pic.twitter.com/xzJ2vM3hmj— Mel Brooks (@MelBrooks) August 23, 2017
RIP to Thomas Meehan, one of the best around.— Lin-Manuel Miranda (@Lin_Manuel) August 22, 2017
Master librettist Thomas Meehan (left) won Tonys for writing Hairspray, The Producers, and Annie. He will be missed. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/vIpwjxCOBV— The Tony Awards (@TheTonyAwards) August 22, 2017
Writer Tom Meehan died today. He led a wonderful life and left so much mirth behind for us to enjoy. Bravo, Maestro.— Harvey Fierstein (@HarveyFierstein) August 22, 2017
"Life is not a movie. You can't go back and edit it. It's Perfect. Just as it is. It has a beginning, a middle, and an end."— Rob McClure (@RobMcClure) August 22, 2017
RIP Tom Meehan
Think of five Broadway hits written in the last thirty years. At least one was probably written by Tom Meehan. The sweetest man��#hairspray— Kerry Butler (@KerryButlerNyc) August 23, 2017
RIP Tom Meehan. So generous and kind during my time in The Producers.— Hunter Foster (@Hunter_Foster) August 23, 2017
#TomMeehan wrote ANNIE, thus introducing me to show biz. We met early in my career and he supported me every step of the way. RIP, Tom. ������— Josh Grisetti (@JoshGrisetti) August 23, 2017
RIP Tom Meehan. #rockybroadway and so much more.❤️��— Wallace Smith (@WallaceSmith007) August 22, 2017
So sad to hear of the passing of Thomas Meehan... �� only writer to have 3 shows run over 2,000 performances. What a legacy.— Michael Feinstein (@MichaelFeinstei) August 22, 2017
Rest in paradise, Thomas Meehan. Musical theater legend!! https://t.co/eAsR3VcQ4j— Perez (@ThePerezHilton) August 23, 2017
Take a look back as Chaplin met the press in 2012: