Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Sandy Wilson | Stage composer, 90

Sandy Wilson, 90, the author, composer, and lyricist whose winsome, nostalgic, and tuneful pastiche of 1920s musicals, The Boy Friend, made a stage star of Julie Andrews and later a movie star of the model Twiggy, died Wednesday in Taunton, England, said his agent, Nick Quinn, who did not disclose the cause.

The Boy Friend, first staged in 1953, was the grand slam of Mr. Wilson's theatrical career. It ran for more than five years in London and had a respectable run of 485 performances on Broadway with 19-year-old Andrews making her American debut in the lead.

The aggressively gossamer plot plays with the cliches of vacuous flapper-era musicals. A wealthy girl meets a messenger boy (really the son of a British lord) on the French Riviera in 1926, and they try to hide their vast fortunes from each other.

The success of The Boy Friend made Mr. Wilson the rage of theater circles in London and New York. and he won comparisons to his idol Noel Coward. None of Mr. Wilson's later musical stage work equaled that one in commercial or critical acclaim.

Mr. Wilson, whose acclaimed 1975 biography was called I Could Be Happy, projected in interviews undeniable gloom about the course of his life. Achieving fame and riches at 30, he said, the rest of his career seemed like a long denouement.

- Washington Post

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