Thomas Meehan has died at the age of 88.
Thomas Meehan has died at the age of 88.
(© David Gordon)

Thomas Meehan, the Tony-winning book writer of the Broadway hits Annie, The Producers, and Hairspray, has died at the age of 88. The news was mentioned on the Instagram account belonging to Sasha Charnin Morrison, the daughter of Meehan's Annie collaborator Martin Charnin.

Over the course of his career, Meehan had 11 shows on Broadway, making his debut with Annie in 1977. He also coauthored the books of I Remember Mama, Ain't Broadway Grand (with Lee Adams), Bombay Dreams (with Meera Syal), Young Frankenstein (with Mel Brooks), Cry-Baby (with fellow Hairspray scribe Mark O'Donnell), Elf (with Bob Martin), Chaplin (with Christopher Curtis), and Rocky (with Sylvester Stallone). Meehan's off-Broadway musicals are Death Takes a Holiday and Annie Warbucks.

Meehan grew up in Suffern, New York. In eighth grade, and then at Hamilton College, he wrote musicals in which he also starred. Moving to New York at the age of 24, he began an anticipated career as a novelist, but instead landed a job writing for The New Yorker's "Talk of the Town" column. There, he penned the oft-parodied Yma Dream. He stayed at the magazine for a decade, leaving to write comedy for the television program That Was the Week That Was.

For his longtime collaborator Mel Brooks, Meehan co-penned the films Spaceballs (with Brooks) and To Be or Not to Be (with Ronny Graham), as well as the 1970 television special Annie, the Women in the Life of a Man, a vehicle for Brooks's wife Anne Bancroft, for which he won an Emmy.

Thomas Meehan (fifth from left) with the cast and creative team of the 2012 revival of Annie.
Thomas Meehan (wearing red tie) with the cast and creative team of the 2012 revival of Annie.
(© David Gordon)