Aug 13, 2023
By Angus Gillespie
Tom Jones, the American lyricist, director and writer of The Fantasticks, has died after a battle with cancer, passing at his home in Connecticut on Friday.
Jones teamed up with composer Harvey Schmidt on The Fantasticks and Broadway shows “110 in the Shade” and “I Do! I Do”… resulting in his induction into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1998.
Born on February 17, 1928, in Littlefield, Texas, Jones studied drama at the University of Texas in 1945. Soon thereafter he met his life-long collaborator, Harvey Schmidt. After earning a master’s degree several years later, Jones was drafted during the Korean War in 1950.
The Fantasticks original musical cast included Jones as Henry, the Old Actor, and Jerry Orbach as El Gallo, the narrator, who sang Jones’ and Schmidt’s “Try to Remember.”
The Fantasticks ran for 42 years before closing in 2002 as the longest-running musical in American theatre history.
In 2006, The Fantasticks was revived in New York for another 4,300 performances, with Jones reprising his role for opening night. He returned once more in 2010 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the original show’s opening.
Tom Jones was 95.