Hair’s award-winning co-creator, James Rado, died at the age of 90

Hair's award-winning co-creator, James Rado, died at the age of 90.

Hair’s award-winning co-creator, James Rado, died at the age of 90.

The writer, whose hit musical gave birth to songs like Aquarius and Let the Sunshine In, died peacefully in New York City, surrounded by family. According to a longtime friend and publicist Merle Frimark, the cause of death was cardiorespiratory arrest.

Hair’s book and music were co-written by Rado and the late Gerome Ragni. He began his career as an actor, playing the lead in James Goldman’s 1966 play The Lion in Winter, starring Rosemary Harris and Christopher Walken, and in Mike Nichols’ production of The Knack.

Rado and Ragni were also working on Hair, a rock musical about hippie counterculture and the sexual revolution of the 1960s, during the 1960s. Following a brief off-Broadway run, it transferred to Broadway in 1968 and ran for 1,750 performances.

In a 2008 interview, Rado described the hippie culture as having “a wonderful warmth and a sense of freedom.” “Men would just approach you and take you in their arms, and it was so liberating and satisfying.” It’s a psychological truth that has long been suppressed in human behavior.

The success resulted in top ten hits, a feature film adaptation directed by Milo Forman in 1979, and an original Broadway cast recording that sold over 3 million copies. Rado won a Grammy for the best score from an original cast show album, and the original production received two Tony nominations.

A Broadway revival in 2009 went on to win a Tony Award for best musical revival. Rado was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame the same year.

Sun and Jack Sound and His Dog Star Blowing His Final Trumpet on the Day of Doom are two other musicals in which Rado and Ragni collaborated.

Rado described himself as an omnisexual in a 2008 interview with The Advocate, claiming to have had a romantic relationship with Ragni, who died in 1991.

Over the last 50 years, it is estimated that over a billion people have seen some version of Hair.

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