Jan. 30, 1928 Brooklyn Kings County (Brooklyn) New York, USA
Mar. 16, 2014 Manhattan New York County (Manhattan) New York, USA
Composer. For most of his life the creator of advertising ditties, he is remembered for the 1965 mega-hit "Man of La Mancha". Born Irwin Michnick to Ukrainian immigrants, he was raised in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, served in the US Army, and used the GI Bill to earn two degrees in music at Yale University where he trained under Paul Hindemith. Originally a jazz musician of some note on the New York scene, in 1957 he founded Music Makers, Inc. to produce tunes and jingles for the advertising industry, a venture he continued for many years, with "Nobody Doesn't Like Sara Lee" probably being his best-known contribution. Leigh wrote incidental music for a few Broadway works including 1963's "Too True to Be Good" and the 1964 "Never Live Over a Bagel Factory" before being asked by Dale Wasserman to collaborate on a musical adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes' 16th century classic "Don Quixote". "Man of La Mancha" opened in New York in 1965, moved to Broadway in 1968, and ran until 1971, racking-up 2,328 performances and earning Leigh a Tony Award. His other ventures on The Great White Way including "Cry for Us All" (1970), 1976's "Home Sweet Homer", the 1979 "Sarava", and a 1993 revue entitled "Ain't Broadway Grand!" received varied degrees of acclaim and never came close to matching the success of his magnum opus, though he did receive a Tony Award nomination for directing Yul Brenner's 1985 final run in "The King and I". A member of the Songwriter's Hall-of-Fame for "The Impossible Dream", in 2001 he was to see Yale name one of its music buildings Leigh Hall in his honor. In his final years a real estate developer, he was at his death working on Jackson Twenty-One Green Village, a central New Jersey planned community. At his demise "Man of La Mancha" had had five major Broadway revivals and was probably in production somewhere on Earth every night. When asked why a Tony-winner would stay in advertising he said: "There's more musical freedom on Madison Avenue than anywhere else". (bio by: Bob Hufford)
Burial: Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.
Maintained by: Find A Grave Originally Created by: Bob Hufford Record added: Mar 16, 2014
Find A Grave Memorial# 126466490