Andrew Lloyd Webber, Baron Lloyd-Webber (born March 22, 1948) is a highly successful British composer of musical theatre. He has arguably been the most popular theatre composer of the late 20th century, with multiple musicals which have run for more than a decade both on Broadway and in the West End. Throughout his career he has produced 15 musicals, the scores to two films (Gumshoe and The Odessa File) and a Latin requiem mass. He has also accumulated a number of honors, including seven Tony Awards, three Grammy Awards, an Oscar, an International Emmy, six Olivier Awards, and a Golden Globe Award.
Lloyd Webber was born on March 22, 1948 in South Kensington, England. He was the son of composer William Lloyd Webber and music teacher Jean Hermione Lloyd-Webber and brother of cellist Julian Lloyd Webber, born in 1951.
His first wife was Sarah Hugill . They married on July 24, 1972 and had two children, Imogen (born March 31, 1977) and Nicholas (born July 2, 1979). Lloyd Webber and Hugill were divorced in 1983. He then married singer and dancer Sarah Brightman on March 22, 1984. Bad press associating from his casting Brightman as the lead in The Phantom of the Opera led to their divorce in 1990. He married his present wife, Madeleine Gurdon , on February 1, 1991, and had three more children: Alastair (born May 3, 1992), William (born August 24, 1993), and Isabella (born April 30, 1996).
He was knighted in 1992 and created a life peer in 1997 as Baron Lloyd-Webber of Sydmonton in the County of Hampshire. (His peerage title is hyphenated, but his surname is not.)
Lloyd Webber had a succession of hit shows in the 1970s and 1980s, in collaboration with lyricist Tim Rice. The two were commissioned to write Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat for a high school. The musical was a hit; after parts of the musical were rewritten it was produced by the Edinburgh Festival. This turn out to be their first big success in 1968. Lloyd Webber and Rice continued to collaborate and later produced Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita, both of which were released as albums before being brought to the stage. Subsequently, Lloyd Webber parted company with Rice. When writing Cats, he defied convention by writing the score to the lyrics rather than the other way around. The lyrics were based on T.S. Eliot's 1939 Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats, which Lloyd Webber confessed was a childhood favourite. To date Cats has been the longest running Broadway musical spanning a reign of more than twenty years. Next, he wrote Starlight Express. The Phantom of the Opera was based on the book of the same name by Gaston Leroux.
Many of his stage musicals have been taken onto the big screen. Jesus Christ Superstar (1973) was directed by Norman Jewison, Evita (1996) was directed by Allan Parker, and most recently The Phantom of the Opera was directed by Joel Schumacher (and co-produced by Lloyd Webber). He was asked to write a piece for the 1992 Barcelona Olympics entitled Amigos Para Siempre. His many other musical theatre works include Aspects of Love, Sunset Boulevard, Whistle Down the Wind, Song and Dance, and The Beautiful Game.
He has also composed for film. In 1984 he took a different music style and composed a requiem in memory of his father who had died in 1982.
Lloyd Webber produced Bombay Dreams with Indian composer AR Rahman in 2002. His most recent London and soon to be Broadway hit is The Woman in White (2004) starring Michael Crawford.
In each case the lyricist is given in brackets.
Last updated: 08-04-2005 19:47:30