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Lee Adams

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Lee Adams
Born (1924-08-14) August 14, 1924 (age 99)
Mansfield, Ohio, U.S.
OccupationWriter, librettist
Notable worksBye Bye Birdie
Golden Boy
It's a Bird... It's a Plane... It's Superman
Notable awards2 Tony Awards, 1 Emmy Award
SpouseKelly Wood Adams

Lee Richard Adams (born August 14, 1924) is an American lyricist best known for his musical theatre collaboration with Charles Strouse.


Born in Mansfield, Ohio, Adams is the son of Dr. Leopold Adams, originally of Stamford, Connecticut, and Florence Ellis (originally Elishack) Adams, originally of Racine, Wisconsin. His family is Jewish. He is a graduate of Mansfield Senior High School.[1] He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Ohio State University and a Master's from Columbia University. While attending Ohio State University he was a brother of the Nu chapter of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity. He worked as a journalist for newspaper and magazines. He met Charles Strouse in 1949, and they initially wrote for summer-time revues.[2]

Adams won Tony Awards in 1961 for Bye Bye Birdie, the first Broadway musical he wrote with Strouse, and in 1970 for Applause and was nominated for a Tony Award in 1965 for Golden Boy.[3] In addition, he wrote the lyrics for All American, It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman, Bring Back Birdie, and A Broadway Musical, and the book and lyrics for Ain't Broadway Grand.[3] Additionally, Strouse and Adams co-wrote "Those Were the Days", the opening theme to the TV situation comedy All in the Family. Adams was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1989.[4]

Adams and his wife, Dr. Kelly Wood Adams, have lived in Briarcliff Manor, New York since 2007. He has two daughters and three grandchildren.[5]

Nonmusical writing[edit]

In addition to his work with lyrics, Adams "had a lifelong fascination with words," which led to his being an editor for the Sunday newspaper magazine supplement This Week and a member of the staff of Pageant magazine.[6]



  1. ^ "Lyricist Lee Adams to Write Show Biz Column". Ohio, Mansfield. News-Journal. February 23, 1975. p. 1. Retrieved November 2, 2015 – via Newspapers.com. Open access icon
  2. ^ "Lee Adams" pbs.com, retrieved January 31, 2019
  3. ^ a b "Lee Adams Broadway" Playbill, retrieved January 31, 2019
  4. ^ "Lee Adams" songhall.org, retrieved January 31, 2019
  5. ^ Kramer, Peter D. (October 16, 2015). "Briarcliff's 'Birdie' connection, Lee Adams". The Journal News. Gannett Company. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  6. ^ Bloom, Ken (2007). Routledge Guide to Broadway. New York City: Routledge. p. 247. ISBN 978-0-415-97380-9. Retrieved 30 November 2015.


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