Tom Jones, who wrote the book and lyrics for the Broadway musical The Fantasticks, which went on to become the longest-running musical in history, has died. He was 95. According to his son Michael, he died on Friday at his home in Sharon, Connecticut, after a battle with cancer.
Jones, who was born on February 17, 1928 in Littlefield, Texas, went on to study acting at the University of Texas in 1945, where he met his longtime colleague Harvey Schmidt. Jones and Schmidt were both enlisted during the Korean War after receiving master’s degrees some years later.
Jones travelled to New York City after serving in the military to pursue a career in theatre. Working with composer John Donald Robb was one of his first possibilities. In addition, he and Robb created the musical Joy Comes to Deadhorse, which was largely based on Edmond Rostand’s 1894 play Les Romanesques. However, due to artistic disagreements, the two parted ways, and Jones continued to work on the musical.
Later, Jones turned to his friend Schmidt, whom he had maintained in touch with during their time in the army, to assist him in finishing the musical that became known as The Fantasticks.