When lyricist Howard Ashman died at 40 on March 14 of AIDS-related complications in New York, he had only just started upon a musical career that might have rivaled the best. In 1982, Ashman and composer Alan Menken redefined Off Broadway theater with Little Shop of Horrors, the unexpected hit (and ‘86 film) about a carnivorous houseplant. Last year the team won an Oscar for the rowdy calypso song, The Little Mermaid’s ”Under the Sea.” They’d completed work on two more animated features for Disney, Beauty and the Beast, coming in November, and next year’s Aladdin. Those who knew Ashman call him ”tough” but he was most at home in songs about lonely dreamers. ”Working with a fairy tale,” he said after Mermaid, ”you do a different kind of dreaming.”
Posted March 29 1991 — 12:00 AM EST
- Lilly Singh's debut book, 'HOW TO BE A BAWSE,' due out in 2017
- FOLD New York City: Nile Rodgers, Bette Midler to perform
- Baz Luhrmann's 'The Get Down' debuts new trailer
- Funny or Die to launch new original series 'Tween Fest'
- Meg Ryan on her onscreen reunion with Tom Hanks
- Lena Dunham's Lenny releases guide to reporting online harassment
- David Cross returns to the stage in new stand-up special trailer
- 'Friends': See the Cast's Evolution Over 10 Years
- This Is What the First Lollapalooza Looked Like
- Comic-Con 2016: See Scenes From Marvel's Showcase
- Comic-Con 2016: See Portraits of Marvel Studios Stars
- Comic-Con 2016: Celebs at the Biggest Day 3 Panels
- Comic-Con 2016: Get Batty With the Cast of 'The Walking Dead'