One half of the dynamic musical duo "Kander and Ebb," Fred Ebb was born in New York City in 1928. He worked several retail and manufacturing jobs in the city. In 1955 he graduated from New York University with a degree in English Literature; in 1957, he earned his Master's in Literature at Columbia University.
Ebb partnered with other composers before meeting John Kander. He worked with Phil Springer to write individual songs (notably "Heartbroken," made famous by Judy Garland). Later, Ebb partnered with Paul Klein for his first musical theatre endeavor, the Broadway revue From A to Z.
In 1962, Ebb met Kander. Their first book musical to hit Broadway was Flora the Red Menace starring Liza Minnelli (Judy Garland's daughter). Their next collaboration was Cabaret in 1966 (the 1972 film starred Minnelli). The duo went on to have a widely successful career, including many collaborations with directors such as Bob Fosse and Hal Prince: Chicago (1975), Woman of the Year (1981), The Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993), The Visit (2001). The pair's last collaboration was Curtains (2006), a musical murder mystery. Unfortunately, Ebb died suddenly of a heart attack before it was finished. The pair's last complete collaboration, The Scottsboro Boys, premiered in 2010.
After Ebb's death, the Fred Ebb Foundation and its award was established. The award is given to aspiring musical theatre writers--including Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak, who won the Tony Award for Best Musical and Book of a Musical for A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (2014).
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