Earlier today, I received an email from a correspondent who told me he had heard that George Furth had died yesterday. I was unable to confirm the news through regular media sources, so I chose to forestall blogging about it until now, when I could, in fact, confirm it.
TheaterMania has posted an obituary confirming that Furth, who collaborated with Stephen Sondheim on both Company (which started off as a night of unrelated playlets about marriage by Furth before Sondheim joined the project) and Merrily We Roll Along.
Brian Scott Lipton writes on TheaterMania:
George Furth, who won the Tony Award for writing the book to the Stephen Sondheim musical Company, died on August 11 at age 75 in Santa Monica, California, according to published reports. No cause of death has been announced.As a character actor, Furth's face was familiar to television audiences for his appearances on Batman, That Girl, The Odd Couple, and Happy Days, among many other shows. (IMDB lists 86 separate television or film credits for Furth as a performer.) According to IBDB, Furth had credits as a performer in two short-lived Broadway plays (the above-named A Cook for Mr. General and Hot Spot) before he became an award-winning playwright.
A graduate of Northwestern University, Furth began his career as a performer, appearing on Broadway in A Cook for Mr. General and Hot Spot, and appeared in numerous films and television shows for over 35 years, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Blazing Saddles, and Murder, She Wrote.
Furth originally wrote Company as a series of one-act plays. He later collaborated with Sondheim on Merrily We Roll Along, which was adapted from a play by George S. Kaufmann and Moss Hart, and the thriller Getting Away With Murder.
Furth also collaborated with John Kander and Fred Ebb on the Liza Minnelli vehicle, The Act, in 1977.
While George Furth will no doubt be missed deeply by his friends and family, he left behind a durable legacy that will be enjoyed by theatre audiences for many decades to come.