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Herbert Kretzmer was born in South Africa, came to live in London in 1954, and has since pursued twin careers as newspaperman and lyricist. He joined the London Daily Express in 1960 and later became its senior drama critic, a post he held for eighteen years. As a lyric writer he wrote weekly songs for That Was the Week That Was, the BBC’s groundbreaking satire programme.

Other award-winning songs include two written with, and for, Charles Aznavour: ‘Yesterday When I Was Young’ and the chart-topping ‘She’. He is probably best known for his lyrics for the 1985 West End production of the Boublil-Schönberg musical Les Misérables, the longestrunning musical in history. Kretzmer was honoured in 1988 by the French government, being appointed Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters. In 2011 he was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). He holds two honorary doctorates. He lives in London.