Award-winning composer Stephen J. Lawrence, known for his work on "Sesame Street," has died at age 82.
The news was confirmed Monday by Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit behind "Sesame Street," which tweeted a tribute that included a video of one of Lawrence's most famous songs, "Fuzzy and Blue (and Orange)."
"We are saddened by the passing of our friend Stephen Lawrence, who composed more than 300 beloved songs and scores in over 30 years on Sesame Street, like the classic ‘Fuzzy and Blue,'" the tweet read. "Thank you for bringing smiles, laughter, and the gift of music to our neighbourhood."
Born in 1939, Lawrence forged his career in film and television as a composer, conductor, music director, and arranger, Classic FM noted. He wrote more than 300 songs and scores for "Sesame Street" between 1980 and 2012, and his work earned him three Emmys for "outstanding music direction and composition" for the children’s show.
Lawrence's work in children's entertainment was celebrated. He composed the score for "The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss" and worked as a musical director and co-producer with Bruce Hart on the popular 1972 children's album "Free to Be ... You and Me," according to Entertainment Weekly. Lawrence composed the title song and two others, "When We Grow Up" and "Sisters and Brothers." In 2021, the album was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry.
In the early ’70s, Lawrence also lent his musical talents to Robert De Niro's "Bang the Drum Slowly." In 1979, he contributed four songs to the 1979 film "Sooner or Later," including the hit single "You Take My Breath Away." Several years later he worked on the musical "Red Riding Hood" and HBO's 1991 animated musical "The Tale of Peter Rabbit."
Outside of film and TV, Lawrence founded the nonprofit Quill Entertainment Company alongside Granville Burgess. Quill is a nonprofit that creates musicals about American history for children.
Lawrence is survived by his wife, Cantor Cathy Lawrence; his brother Robert; his daughter Hannah Jones Anderson; his son-in-law Seth Anderson; his grandson Arthur; and his stepsons Sam and Nick Kline.
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