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'Fiddler on the Roof' composer dies

Jerry Bock, who composed the music to some of the most memorable shows in Broadway history, including the melodies for Fiorello! and Fiddler on the Roof, has died. He was 81.

Together with the lyricist Sheldon Harnick, Bock wrote the powerful score to Fiddler on the Roof, one of the most successful productions in the history of the American musical theatre, having an initial run of eight years. It earned the two men Tony Awards in 1965.

"He was wonderful to work with," said Harnick, who collaborated with Bock for 13 years. "I think in all the years that we worked together, I only remember one or two arguments – and those were at the beginning of the collaboration when we were still feeling each other out. Once we got past that, he was wonderful to work with."

Bock had recently spoken at a memorial service for the Fiddler playwright Joseph Stein, who died on 24 October.

Bock and Harnick first hit success for the music and lyrics to Fiorello!, which earned them each Tonys and a rare Pulitzer Prize in 1960. In addition, Bock was nominated for Tonys in 1967 for The Apple Tree and in 1971 for The Rothschilds. He won an Emmy Award this year for helping to pen a children's song. He died of heart failure at a hospital in New York.