'Damn Yankees' composer Richard Adler dies

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Composer and lyricist Richard Adler, who won Tony Awards for cowriting snappy and infectious songs for such hit Broadway musicals as "The Pajama Game" and "Damn Yankees" and who staged and produced President John F. Kennedy's birthday celebration featuring a breathy Marilyn Monroe, has died. He was 90.

Adler died Thursday at his home in Southampton, his widow, Susan A. Ivory, said.

Some of Adler's biggest songs are "You Gotta Have Heart," "Hey, There," "Hernando's Hideaway," "Whatever Lola Wants," "Steam Heat," "Rags to Riches," and "Everybody Loves a Lover." Adler staged and produced several shows for U.S. presidents, including the unforgettable 1962 extravaganza for Kennedy at Madison Square Garden where Monroe sang "Happy Birthday."

Adler teamed up with Jerry Ross for "Damn Yankees," in which a rabid baseball fan sells his soul to the devil in exchange for a chance to lead his favorite team to American League pennant glory. The fruitful Ross-Adler union ended when Ross died of a lung ailment in 1955 at age 29.

Adler was born in New York City in 1921 and graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1943. He is a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Adler is survived by his wife; his children, Andrew Adler, Katherine Adler and Charles Shipman; and three grandchildren, Damien and Scarlett Adler and Lola Jane Shipman.

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