Stephen J Lawrence, a musical talent whose credits included 1972’s ‘Free to Be… You and Me’ and a prolific run on ‘Sesame Street’, passed away at Clara Maas Medical Center in New Jersey, aged 82.
His death was confirmed to Variety by his wife Cantor Cathy Lawrence, reports variety.com.
Born on September 5, 1939, Lawrence achieved a body of work as a musician that spanned over five decades.
He is best known for his work as musical director and co-producer with Bruce Hart on the gold album ‘Free to Be… You and Me’.
Lawrence composed the album’s title song, as well as the tracks ‘When We Grow Up’ and ‘Sisters and Brothers’.
Lawrence also served as composer, music director, arranger and conductor on the children’s television series ‘Sesame Street’ for over 30 years, composing over 300 songs and scores for the programme, including ‘Fuzzy and Blue (and Orange)’, which he co-wrote with David Axelrod.
He received three Daytime Emmy awards for outstanding achievement in music direction and composition during his tenure on the show.
Other credits from Lawrence include the score for 1979’s ‘Sooner or Later’ and its single ‘You Take My Breath Away’.
He also composed scores for ‘Bang the Drum Slowly’, ‘One Summer Love’, ‘Alice, Sweet Alice’, 1987’s ‘Red Riding Hood’ and the animated musical ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’.
Lawrence also served as music director at Temple Sinai in Stamford, Connecticut from 2003 to 2022.
Lawrence is survived by his wife Cantor Cathy Lawrence; brother Robert; daughter Hannah Jones Anderson; son-in-law Seth Anderson; grandson Arthur; and stepsons Sam and Nick Kline.
A private backyard memorial service will be held on Saturday.