Howard Ashman (b. May 3, 1950, Baltimore, Maryland – d. March 14, 1991), born Howard Elliott Ashman, was an American playwright and movie music lyricist. He collaborated with Alan Menken on several films, notably animated features for Disney, Ashman writing the lyrics and Menken composing the scores.
Menken and Ashman also collaborated on Little Shop of Horrors with Ashman as director, lyricist, and librettist.
Along with Menken, Ashman was the co-recipient of two Grammy Awards, two Golden Globes and two Oscars. His second Academy Award in 1992 was awarded posthumuously for Best Song and was accepted by his partner, Bill Lauch. It was the first Academy Award given posthumously to someone who had died of AIDS.
Ashman died on March 14, 1991, at age 40, during the making of both Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. Ashman and Menken had finished the songs for Beauty and the Beast, but Tim Rice was brought in to finish Aladdin songs with Menken. Beauty and the Beast was dedicated to him with the following:
To our friend, Howard, Who gave a mermaid her voice, and a beast his soul. We will be forever grateful. Howard Ashman 1950-1991
Best known works