Traditional musical composer Stephen Sondheim, responsible for "Love Without Barriers" and "Sweeney Todd," has died.


Traditional musical composer Stephen Sondheim, responsible for "Love Without Barriers" and "Sweeney Todd," has died.

The winner of eight Grammy Awards, eight Tony Awards -including the Special to the Career in the Theater- and an Academy Award has died at the age of 91 at his home in Connecticut.

Stephen Sondheim, the legend of the American musical comedy and author of the lyrics of "West Side Story" (Love without barriers) and "Sweeney Todd," died this Friday at the age of 91, His lawyer told the New York Times.

Attorney Richard Papas said Sondheim died suddenly the morning before at his residence in Roxbury, in the northeastern state of Connecticut, after celebrating Thanksgiving with friends the day before.

Born in New York City on March 22, 1930, Sondheim was involved in the musical theater from an early age.

He began playing the piano at age seven. He was a family friend of Oscar Hammerstein II, a member of the famous musical theater writing duo Rodgers and Hammerstein. The latter wrote plays such as "Oklahoma!" and "The Sound of Music" (The rebel novice).

Throughout his long Career, Sondheim won eight Grammy Awards, eight Tony Awards - including the Lifetime Theater special - and an Academy Award. In addition, he was nominated for other Grammys and Tony's, as well as two Golden Globes.

In 2015, then-US President Barack Obama awarded Sondheim the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his work.

Sondheim influenced several generations of theater composers, most notably with iconic musicals such as "Company," "Follies," and "Sweeney Todd," which is considered one of his best works. However, his most famous ballad, "Send in the Clowns," has been recorded hundreds of times, including Frank Sinatra and Judy Collins.

Sondheim's music and lyrics gave his shows a dark and dramatic touch, whereas, before him, the dominant tone of musicals was lighthearted and comical. He was sometimes criticized for being an unhappy songwriter, a sign Sondheim had no objection to. Frank Sinatra, who was successful with Soundheim's "Sand in the Clowns", once complained: "If I could write more songs for lounge singers like myself, it would make me very happy."

For theatergoers, Sondheim's sophistication and intelligence made him an icon. A Broadway theater is named after him. The cover of a New York magazine asked, "Is Sondheim God?" And the Guardian newspaper once asked the question: "Is Stephen Sondheim the Shakespeare of the musical theater?"