Adam Schlesinger, the co-founder of power pop band Fountains Of Wayne and prolific songwriter who wrote for film, theater and television, has died of complications caused by coronavirus. The musician, who had been nominated for Grammys, Tonys, Oscars and Emmys, was 52.
Schlesinger's attorney, Josh Grier, told Variety on Tuesday that the musician had been “very sick and heavily sedated” at a hospital in upstate New York, and he had been there for more than a week at that time.
Schlesinger grew up in Manhattan and Montclair, New Jersey. He co-founded Fountains of Wayne, a power pop band whose sound was inspired by the likes of Big Star & The Cars, with Chris Collingwood in 1995; the band was named after a lawn ornament store in Wayne, NJ. The group, in which Schlesinger played bass, released five studio albums between 1996 and 2011; they were nominated for two Grammys in 2003, including one for their hit single "Stacy's Mom."
In addition to Fountains of Wayne and his two other bands, Ivy and Tinted Windows, Schlesinger had a wide and diverse range of outlets for his musical talents. He was nominated for an Oscar and Golden Globe for co-writing the theme song for the Tom Hanks-directed film That Thing You Do! He co-writing many songs for My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, alongside creator Rachel Bloom and Jack Dolgen; he was nominated for multiple Emmys for the show, ultimately winning one in 2018 for the song “Antidepressants Are So Not A Big Deal.” He also won two Emmys for co-writing songs sung by Neil Patrick Harris at 65th and 66th Tony Awards.
Schlesinger and David Javerbaum received two Tony nominations in 2008 Best Musical and Best Original Score for the Broadway musical Cry-Baby, based on 1990 John Waters’s film. The two also won a Grammy for best comedy album for their work on A Stephen Colbert Christmas. He also wrote for movies and shows including Music & Lyrics, Josie And The Pussycats, There’s Something About Mary, Scary Movie, Sesame Street, Too Late With Adam Carolla, The Howard Stern Radio Show, and The Dana Carvey Show.
He had recently collaborated with Sarah Silverman on his first full stage score for the off-Broadway musical, The Bedwetter; it was supposed to open this spring, but was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic. He had also reunited with his Crazy Ex-Girlfriend collaborator Bloom to write songs for a musical adaptation of the TV show The Nanny.
Rolling Stone has a tribute to Schlesinger picking out 20 of his greatest songs. You can see some tributes to Schlesinger below.
Aline Brosh McKenna, co-creator of My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, shared the following on Twitter — beginning with a story about how one day, in the writer's room, "we talked about how someone famous had just died... Adam commented on how, when that happens, everyone immediately goes online and posts a personal story about some small interaction they'd had with the famous person. I referred to it as an 'egobituary.' "