Cy Coleman (June 14, 1929 - November 18, 2004) was born Seymour Kaufman in New York City. Despite early success in the classical and jazz genres, Coleman decided to build a career in popular music. Coleman’s most successful early partnership was with Carolyn Leigh. Coleman's winning streak as a Broadway composer began when the team of Coleman/Leigh collaborated on the musical Wildcat (1960), which marked the Broadway debut of comedienne Lucille Ball. Up next for the two was Little Me, with a book by Neil Simon based on the novel by Patrick Dennis (Auntie Mame). In 1964, Coleman began collaborating with Dorothy Fields. Their first project was the Broadway smash Sweet Charity, again with a book by Neil Simon, and starring Gwen Verdon. Sweet Charity also went on to grace the silver screen in a film starring Shirley MacLaine that was Directed and Choreographed by Bob Fosse. After Sweet Charity the team of Coleman/Fields worked on the Broadway show Seesaw, which reached Broadway in 1973 and their partnership was cut short by Fields' death in 1974.
Coleman remained prolific throughout the 1970s and 1980s. He composed the score for I Love My Wife (1977) with lyrics by Michael Stewart, and then On The Twentieth Century (1978) with Betty Comden and Adolph Green. In 1980, Coleman served as producer and composer for the circus-themed Barnum. Later in the decade, he collaborated on Welcome to the Club (1988) with A.E. Hotchner and City of Angels (1989) with David Zippel with book by Larry Gelbart. In the latter, inspired by the hard-boiled detective film noir of the 1930s and '40s, he returned to his jazz roots, and the show was a huge critical and commercial success.
The 1990s brought two more new hit Cy Coleman musicals to Broadway: The Will Rogers Follies (1991), again with Comden and Green, and The Life (1997) with lyricist Ira Gasman. Coleman's film scores include Father Goose, The Art of Love, Garbo Talks and Family Business. In addition, he composed scores for memorable television specials for Shirley MacLaine, Bob Hope, and Peggy Lee.
Cy Coleman has received numerous awards including: Grammy's (3 wins, 13 nominations), Tony's (4 wins, 11 nominations), Emmy's (3 wins, 5 nominations), Oscar (1 Nomination for Sweet Charity), Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, Johnny Mercer Award (Songwriter's Hall Of Fame), and the Richard Rogers Award for Lifetime Achievement in American Musical Theater (ASCAP).