Lee Adams began his professional career as a journalist, working as a newspaper reporter, magazine writer and editor, and radio writer and interviewer. But his life took a sudden turn when his “hobby” of lyric writing led to Bye, Bye Birdie in 1960. This unheralded little Broadway musical was a smash hit and went on to become a classic. Birdie remains one of the most performed musicals for schools and amateur theatres.
Adams received the first of his two Tony Awards for Birdie, followed on Broadway by All American (1962); Golden Boy with Sammy Davis (1964); It’s a Bird…It’s A Plane…It’s Superman! (1966); and Applause with Lauren Bacall (1970), for which he won his second Tony Award. In 1972, with his composer-collaborator Charles Strouse, Adams wrote the much-acclaimed musical I And Albert in London. He wrote the lyrics for TV’s long-running All In The Family theme, “Those Were The Days,” which has been heard more often than any other television theme. And with Strouse he wrote the score for the film The Night They Raided Minsky’s, a cult favorite.
Among his hundreds of songs, a number have become standards, including “Put On A Happy Face,” “Kids,” “Once Upon A Time,” “Applause,” “Night Song,” “I Want To Be With You” and “A Lot Of Livin’ To Do.” Adams’ other awards include an Emmy for “Let’s Settle Down” from the TV version of Birdie, and the ASCAP Richard Rodgers Award for outstanding contributions to the American Musical Theatre, and his induction into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He has taught seminars on American musical theatre at Yale, Columbia and NYU, and is proud to be a Life Member of the Dramatists Guild Council.
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