Choreographer Gillian Lynne of ‘Cats,’ ‘Phantom’ fame dies at age 92
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LONDON — Choreographer Gillian Lynne, who worked closely for many years with composer Andrew Lloyd Webber on some of his most famous works, has died in London. She was 92.
Her husband, the actor Peter Land, said on Twitter that she died Sunday evening at the Princess Grace Hospital. He said she “leaves behind a huge legacy and is adored by many.” Land said he was “heartbroken” at the loss of the woman who had been his friend and his love for 40 years.
Lynne’s many credits included the phenomenally successful “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera.”
Last month, Lloyd Webber renamed his New London Theatre as The Gillian Lynne Theatre, making it the first in London’s theater district named after a woman.
After hearing of her death, he tweeted: “Three generations of the British musical owe so much to you.”
Lights at theaters throughout London’s entertainment district will be dimmed for one minute before performances begin Monday night as a tribute to Lynne.
Julian Bird, chief of the Society of London Theatre, said the group is “proud to celebrate her extraordinary legacy.”
Lynne’s career began with dancing as a leading soloist with Sadler’s Wells Ballet in 1944, and continued for decades as she moved into directing and choreography. She directed many productions in London’s West End and on Broadway in New York.
She worked on TV specials for performers from a variety of musical genres, including Ray Charles, Perry Como and Petula Clark.
She told the BBC that her longevity was due to her love for her job.
Lynne also said she had no musical talent of her own, and had stopped taking piano lessons when she was a girl because a mean piano teacher smacked her for playing poorly.
Lynne received many honors for her decades of theatrical work and was made a dame in 2014.
GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press