Howard Ashman

Lyricist, Producer, Librettist
This celebrated producer and stage director is remembered as the lyricist for three of Disney animated blockbusters of the late 1980s and early 90s, including "The Little Mermaid" (1989) and "Beauty and the Beast" ... Read more »
Born: 05/17/1950 in Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Filmography

Music (14)

Enchanted 2007 (Movie)

("Part Of Your World") (Song)

Disney's Beauty and the Beast: A Concert on Ice 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Theme Lyrics

Aladdin and the King of Thieves 1996 (Movie)

("Arabian Nights Reprise") (Song)

The 65th Annual Academy Awards 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Theme Lyrics

Aladdin 1992 (Movie)

songs("Arabian Nights" "Friend Like Me" "Prince Ali") (Song)

Beauty and the Beast 1991 (Movie)

("Human Again" (2002/large format version)) (Song)

The 62nd Annual Academy Awards 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Theme Lyrics

The Little Mermaid 1989 (Movie)

songs (Song)

The 60th Annual Academy Awards Presentation 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Music

Little Shop of Horrors 1986 (Movie)

lyrics("Little Shop of Horrors" "Skid Row (Downtown)" "Grow For Me" "Somewhere That's Green" "Dentist" "Feed Me" "Suddenly Seymour" "Suppertime" "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space" "The Meek Shall Inherit") (Theme Lyrics)

Little Shop of Horrors 1986 (Movie)

from musical play("Little Shop of Horrors") (Music)
Writer (2)

The Little Mermaid 1989 (Movie)

dialogue (Writer (dialogue))

Little Shop of Horrors 1986 (Movie)

(Screenplay)
Producer (2)

Beauty and the Beast 1991 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Little Mermaid 1989 (Movie)

(Producer)
Visual Effects & Animation (1)

Aladdin 1994 - 1997 (TV Show)

Titles
Executive (1)

Aladdin 1992 (Movie)

pre-production story development(CGI) (Development Executive)
Other (1)

Beauty and the Beast 1991 (Movie)

in-memoriam(("to our friend, Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul, we will be forever grateful: Howard Ashman 1950-1991." 2002/large format version presskit")) (Other)

Biography

This celebrated producer and stage director is remembered as the lyricist for three of Disney animated blockbusters of the late 1980s and early 90s, including "The Little Mermaid" (1989) and "Beauty and the Beast" (1991). Howard Ashman actually began his professional career as a book editor at Grosset & Dunlap before becoming artistic director of the newly-revived WPA Theatre in New York in 1977. Despite his administrative duties, he found time to write and direct. His first two efforts, "'Cause Maggie's Afraid of the Dark" and "Dreamstuff" (both 1976) were met with mixed results. After a directing stint at the Arena Stage in Washington, DC, Ashman returned to Manhattan and launched "Little Shop of Horrors". The hit Off-Broadway musical based on Roger Corman's 1961 minor classic centered on the improbable relationship between a nebbish and a man-eating plant. Working with composer Alan Menken, Ashman wrote the book and lyrics and directed the original 1982 production. Its success seemed to bode a major career for Ashman, but he stumbled with his follow-up stage effort, the 1986 Broadway musical "Smile". Adapted from Michael Ritchie's 1975 satire, "Smile" teamed the lyricist-director with Marvin Hamlisch and while there was much to admire in the project, the overall result failed to impress critics or find an audience.

Relationships

Shirley Thelma Ashman

Mother

Raymond Ashman

Father

Bill Lauch

Companion
Accepted Ashman's posthumous 1991 Best Song Oscar for "Beauty and the Beast" at the Academy Awards

EDUCATION

Goddard College

Plainfield , Vermont 1971

Boston University

Boston , Massachusetts

Indiana University

Bloomington , Indiana 1974

Milestones

2008

Received a posthumous Tony award nomination for the Broadway musical version of "The Little Mermaid"

1995

Was the subject of the musical revue "Hundreds of Hats" at the WPA Theatre in NYC

1992

Final feature credit, as co-lyricist for Disney's "Aladdin"; film completed and released after Ashman's death

1991

Served as executive producer and song lyricist for Disney's "Beauty and the Beast"; received a posthumous Best Song Oscar for the title tune

1989

Produced and wrote the song lyrics for the Disney animated feature "The Little Mermaid"; won first Academy Award for the song "Under the Sea", written with Alan Menken

1988

Debut as film/animation lyricist, "Oliver and Company"

1986

Broadway debut as director, book writer and lyricist (to Marvin Hamlisch's music), "Smile", a musical adapted from Michael Ritchie's satirical 1975 film

1982

Directed and wrote the book and lyrics for the Off-Broadway hit "Little Shop of Horrors"; music by Menken

1979

Garnered attention as lyricist, co-librettist (with Dennis Green) and director of "God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater"; also marked first collaboration with composer Alan Menken

1977

Worked as artistic director of the off-off-Broadway WPA Theater from the time of the theater's re-opening

1976

First produced play, "'Cause Maggie's Afraid of the Dark"

1974

Moved to New York; became an editor at Grosset & Dunlap

Bonus Trivia

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The film "Beauty and the Beast" carried the dedication: "To our friend Howard, who gave a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul."

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