Les Miserables Lyricist dies aged 95

Herbert Kretzmer passed away on October 14th 2020



The world was recently informed about the unfortunate demise of Herbert Kretzmer . Herbert Kretzmer was a well known as a theatre critic, journalist  who  received acclaim when he took on the role as a lyricist for the musical “Les Miserables”.

Kretzmer was born in 1925 in South Africa. After turning 18, he began a career in journalism, by writing commentary for a weekly cinema newsreel. In 1954, Kretzmer relocated to London and simultaneously pursued careers in journalism and songwriting. In 1960, Kretzmer joined the “ London Daily Express” and years later, he became the senior drama critic holding that position for 18 years; alongside this position he wrote television criticism for the daily mail from 1979-1987. Herbert Kretzmer eventually retired from this position and began a career as a lyricist. Kretzmer wrote the lyrics for the film soundtrack  “Can Hieronymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness“. He wrote the book and lyrics for the musical, Our Man Crichton. In 1985, Kretzmer was invited to write lyrics for the West-End musical, “Les Miserables”. Les Miserables is known to have been Kretzmer’s big break, in an interview which took place in 2013 Kretzmer said, “Les Misérables has brought me my London house and my wife, whom I met at the opening-night party in New York,” he said. “I often marvel at how it changed my life.”  Information from his obituary in The New York Times claims, he made approximately $20 million from composing the lyrics of Les Miserables. In the late 2000’s Kretzmer composed lyrics for musicals “Kristina” and “Margeritue”.

Kretzmer wed Elisabeth Margaret Wilson in 1961 however they split in 1973. The couple gave birth to a son and a daughter. In 1988, Kretzmer married Sybil Sever until his recent death. Kretzmer suffered from Parkinson’s disease and he passed away in October 2020.