When it hit the stage in 1977, we were swept away by the little orphan Annie. The musical that we all know and love was adapted from a comic strip series written by Harold Gary. The lyricist for the musical, Martin Charnin, died July 3rd of a heart attack at the age of eighty-four.
The first to announce the news was his daughter, Sasha Charnin Morrison, who announced it in a very touching Instagram post.
Charnin didn’t begin his Broadway career as a writer, though. Before he wowed us all with Annie, which went on for a record six year run for the Alvin Theatre, he starred in the original production West Side Story. He made his songwriting debut with 1963’s Hot Spot, starring Judy Holliday. He won an Emmy for a television writing gig in the 1970’s before he went on to make his directing debut with the revue Nash at Nine. It wasn’t until after all of this that he co-created and co-wrote Annie.
Charnin won a Tony for Best Musical Score along with composer Charles Strouse in 1977 for the musical. The musical went on to become a movie in 1982, and it ended up nominated for an Oscar. There is no doubt over Charnin’s brilliance, who has proven to be a truly remarkable actor, writer, director, and man.