He was a producer, composer and lyricist born in New York, New York to a family where his father was a concert pianist.
He studied at the University of North Carolina and as a young man he served as an officer in the US Naval Reserve. When he had completed his service he returned to New York and after teaming up with Jerry Ross began to collaborate on writing music. After they had seen success on Broadway with shows including The Pajama Game and Damn Yankees, both of which won Tony Awards, Jerry Ross sadly died in 1955.
Apart from collaborating with Robert Allen on the chart song “Everybody Loves a Lover” he continued his work alone. He saw further success with his Broadway shows that include the Tony Award nominee Kwamina and Fosse, and popular songs such as “Hernando’s Hideaway”, “Steam Heat” and “Hey, There”. His work for television included winning the “Commercial of the Year” three years in a row, as well as the musicals Little Women and Gift of the Magi.
He was inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 1984, was a trustee for the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and a White House Consultant for the Arts where he produced presidential shows and concerts.
As a classical composer he wrote Yellowstone Overture, Wilderness Suite, The Lady Remembers and his symphonic works have received four Pulitzer Prize nominations.
He passed away at home in Southampton, New York, in 2012 when he was 90 years old.
Boston Pops Orchestra Recordings
Hernando’s Hideaway (Richard Adler/Jerry Ross)
RCA 68793 (CD: Boston Tea Party)
Conductor– Arthur Fiedler
Here’s “Whatever Lola Wants” by Richard and Jerry Ross..