Jerry Bock
Background information
Birth nameJerrold Lewis Bock
Born(1928-11-23)November 23, 1928
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
DiedNovember 3, 2010(2010-11-03) (aged 81)
Mount Kisco, New York, U.S.
GenresMusical theater
Occupation(s)Composer, lyricist
Years active1955–2010

Jerrold Lewis Bock (November 23, 1928 – November 3, 2010) was an American musical theater composer. He received the Tony Award for Best Musical and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama with Sheldon Harnick for their 1959 musical Fiorello! and the Tony Award for Best Composer and Lyricist for the 1964 musical Fiddler on the Roof with Sheldon Harnick.


Born into a Jewish family in New Haven, Connecticut, and raised in Flushing, Queens, New York, Bock studied the piano as a child. While a student at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he wrote the musical Big As Life, which toured the state and enjoyed a run in Chicago. After graduation, he spent three summers at the Tamiment Playhouse in the Poconos and wrote for early television revues with lyricist Larry Holofcener. One of their songs, the three-part "The Story of Alice," was performed by the Chad Mitchell Trio on their Blowin' in the Wind album of 1962.[1]


Bock made his Broadway debut in 1955 when he and Lawrence Holofcener contributed songs to Catch a Star. The following year the duo collaborated on the musical Mr. Wonderful, designed for Sammy Davis Jr., after which they worked on Ziegfeld Follies of 1956, which closed out-of-town.[2]

Shortly after, Bock met lyricist Sheldon Harnick, with whom he forged a successful partnership. Although their first joint venture, The Body Beautiful, failed to charm the critics, its score caught the attention of director George Abbott and producer Hal Prince. They hired the team to compose a musical biography of former New York City mayor Fiorello La Guardia. Fiorello! (1959) earned Bock and Harnick the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Musical, Tony Award for Best Musical (tied with the team from The Sound of Music) and the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Bock's additional collaborations with Harnick include Tenderloin (1960), Man in the Moon (1963), She Loves Me (1963), Fiddler on the Roof (1964), The Apple Tree (1966), and The Rothschilds (1970), as well as contributions to Never Too Late (1962), Baker Street (1965), Her First Roman (1968), and The Madwoman of Central Park West (1979). Fiddler on the Roof included the hit song "If I Were a Rich Man".

Established in 1997, the Jerry Bock Award for Excellence in Musical Theater is an annual grant presented to the composer and lyricist of a project developed in the BMI Lehman Engel Musical Theater Workshop.[3]

Bock spoke at the funeral of 98-year-old Fiddler playwright Joseph Stein just 10 days before his own death, from heart failure at 81, less than three weeks before his 82nd birthday.[4]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
1960 New York Drama Critics' Circle Award Best Musical Fiorello! Won
Tony Award Best Musical Won
Pulitzer Prize Drama Won
1964 Grammy Award Best Score from an Original Cast Show Album She Loves Me Won
1965 Tony Award Best Composer and Lyricist Fiddler on the Roof Won
New York Drama Critics' Circle Award Best Musical Won
1967 Tony Award Best Composer and Lyricist The Apple Tree Nominated
1971 Best Original Score The Rothschilds Nominated
2010 Daytime Emmy Award Outstanding Original Song - Children's and Animation Wonder Pets! Won


  1. ^ Ginell, Cary, AllMusic Review of the Chad Mitchell Trio's Blowin' in the Wind, AllMusic,
  2. ^ "Guide to the Jerry Bock Papers, 1945-2004". Archived from the original on 2006-10-08. Retrieved 2007-04-11.
  3. ^ Bock listing
  4. ^ "FIDDLER Composer Jerry Bock Dies at 81". Retrieved 3 November 2010.