Wednesday November 28, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) -- Martin Richards, the Tony Award-winning producer behind such Broadway hits as "On the Twentieth Century," "Sweeney Todd," and "The Will Rogers Follies," has died, his publicist said Tuesday. He was 80.

Publicist Judy Jacksina said Richards died Monday. The marquees of Broadway theatres will be dimmed in his memory Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Richards’ shows won more than 40 Tonys during his five decades producing plays and musicals.

"The popularity of his shows has brought many generations to Broadway. He was an admirer of talent, and we were an admirer of his," Charlotte St. Martin, the executive director of The Broadway League, said in a statement.

His other Broadway productions include "Crimes of the Heart," "La Cage Aux Folles," "Grand Hotel" and "The Life."

In addition to his stage work, Richards was the producer of the original "Chicago" on Broadway and went on to win an Academy Award for producing the film version in 2003. His other films include "The Shining," "Boys From Brazil," and "Fort Apache, The Bronx."

Richards, along with his late wife, Mary Lea Johnson Richards, was instrumental in founding Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids and Meals on Wheels. Richards also created the New York Center for Children to care for abused children and their families.

In a statement, actress Chita Rivera said she had lost a great friend.


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"What a privilege to have shared a part of his flamboyant history. Through Marty and his courageous eye and infallible taste, I have inherited gifts I had never imagined would come my way," Rivera said.

Richards is survived by his brother Bruce Klein; a niece, Lisa Kirschner; and a nephew, Sean Klein.