Stephen J. Lawrence, Emmy Award-winning composer for Sesame Street, has died. He was 82 years old.
Lawrence died on December 30, at Clara Maas Medical Center in Belleville, NJ, his wife Cantor Cathy Lawrence confirms The Hollywood Reporter. Cause of death not provided.
Born on September 5, 1939, Lawrence worked as a composer, music director, choreographer and conductor on the children’s television series. Sesame Street for more than 30 years. He has written more than 300 songs and scores for the show, including “Fuzzy and Blue (and Orange),” co-written with David Axelrod. He has received three Daytime Emmy Awards for outstanding achievement in musical directing and songwriting for his work on the show.
With an interest in children’s education, Lawrence also collaborated with the Jim Henson Company when composing music for The Magical World of Dr. Seuss. He later co-founded the nonprofit Quill Entertainment Company with Granville Burgess in 1998.
Outside Sesame Street, Lawrence is also credited as musical director and co-producer on the 1972 album Freedom to be you and me – the album is certified gold – for which he wrote the title track, as well as “When We Grow Up” and “Sisters and Brothers.”
Other composer credits include 1973 star Robert DeNiro Bang the Drum Slow, One Summer Love (1976), hit horror film Alice, sweet Alice (1976), live-action musical Little Red Riding Hood and the 1991 HBO animated musical The Story of the Rabbit Peter, starring Carol Burnett. He also composed the soundtrack for the movie Communion AKA (1976), received the Music Award from the 1977 Paris Science Fiction and Fantasy Film Festival. Lawrence is the musical director and co-writer of four songs for the film. Soon or late (1979), including the gold single “You Take My Breath Away.”
He was also the Music Director of Temple Sinai from 2002 to 2012.
Lawrence is survived by his wife, Cantor Cathy Lawrence; brother Robert; Hannah’s daughter Jones Anderson; son-in-law Seth Anderson; grandson Arthur; and stepchildren Sam and Nick Kline.