Thomas Meehan was born in Ossining, New York in 1929. He grew up in Suffern and went on to graduate from Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. After serving in the army for a period of time, Meehan moved to Manhattan as a young man to work in an editorial role at The New Yorker. His humorous pieces for the magazine attracted the interest of Mel Brooks and the lyricist Martin Charnin.
In 1972, Charnin asked Meehan to write the book for Annie, along with the composer, Charles Strouse. Although the show took five years to complete, it eventually premiered on Broadway in 1977 and became a huge, long-running hit. Meehan joined forces with Mel Brooks to work on the musical adaptation of Brooks’ film The Producers in 2001 and the original Broadway production ran for over 2,500 performances. He later worked again with Brooks on Young Frankenstein in 2007. Meehan had a further huge hit with the musical Hairspray in 2002. More recently, Meehan co-wrote the book for Chaplin: The Musical (2006) and Elf: The Musical (2010).
Meehan married twice and had four children. He continued to write for The New Yorker throughout his career and also wrote the screenplays for several films. He won the Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical three times: Annie (1977), The Producers (2001), and Hairspray (2003). Meehan died in 2017, aged 88.
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