James Rado, who was the co-creator of groundbreaking rock musical Hair, passed away at the age of 90. He died in a Manhattan hospital on Tuesday evening.
Born under the sign of Aquarius in Venice, California, on January 23, 1932, James Alexander Radomski grew up in Rochester, New York and Washington, DC, along with his brother Ted and sister Charlotte. He resided in Hoboken, New Jersey, until his death, according to Deadline.
His longtime friend Merle Frimark revealed that Rado died of cardiorespiratory arrest in the New York hospital.
Since his teenage years, Rado wanted to write a Broadway musical and therefore he learned to write lyrics. Rado intentionally studied the works of Rodgers & Hammerstein, Rodgers & Hart, Cole Porter and others, as well as pop music from the 1930s, '40s, '50s and '60s.
Hair, which has a story and lyrics by Rado and Gerome Ragni and music by Galt MacDermot, was the first rock musical on Broadway, the first Broadway show to feature full nudity and the first to feature a same-sex kiss. Hair made possible other rock musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar and Rent. Like Hamilton, it was one of only a handful of Broadway shows in the past few decades to find its songs on the pop charts, according to NPR.
The composer had also served in the US Navy but in 1956 he shifted to New York to become an actor.
In 1960, the late composer had also formed James and the Argyles, a singing group.
Tributes are pouring in on social media for Rado as the news of his death is spreading. "James Rado, who co-wrote the book and lyrics for 'Hair' and starred as Claude in the original Broadway production, died last night. He was the last surviving member of the groundbreaking musical's writing team," said Theater reporter at The New York Times Michael Paulson.