Photo: Walter Lim

Sesame Street Composer Stephen J. Lawrence: Dead At 83

Daytime-Emmy-winning composer for Sesame Street, Stephen J. Lawrence has died at the age of 82.

Born on September 5, 1939, Lawrence served as a composer, music director, arranger and conductor on the longtime children’s television series Sesame Street for more than 30 years and composed 300+ songs and scores for the program, including “Fuzzy and Blue (and Orange),” co-written with David Axelrod.

Honored with three Daytime Emmy awards for outstanding achievement in music direction and composition for his work on the show, Lawrence also collaborated with The Jim Henson Company when composing the score for The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss. He later co-founded the nonprofit Quill Entertainment Company with Granville Burgess in 1998.

In addition to Sesame Street, Lawrence was as the musical director and co-music producer on the 1972 Gold-certified album, Free to Be You and Me in which he composed the title song, as well as “When We Grow Up” and “Sisters and Brothers.” His adult-focused composer credits include the 1973 Robert DeNiro-starrer Bang the Drum Slowly, One Summer Love (1976), cult horror film Alice, Sweet Alice (1976), live-action musical Red Riding Hood and the 1991 HBO animated musical The Tale of Peter Rabbit, starring Carol Burnett. He also composed the film score for AKA Communion (1976), which received the Music Award from the Paris Festival of Fantasy and Science Fiction in 1977 and he was the music director and the co-writer of four songs for the film Sooner or Later (1979), including the gold single “You Take My Breath Away.”

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Author: Al Denté

Photo: Walter Lim