Margaret Styne, the widow of Broadway composer Jule Styne (Gypsy; Hallelujah, Baby!; Bells Are Ringing), has died. Ms. Styne was the steward of her husband's estate, and was intimately involved in the upcoming revival of his musical Funny Girl.
“Over the years, Margaret Styne has always been a passionate advocate, supporter, and colleague to all of us working on Funny Girl," said Sonia Friedman, Scott Landis, David Babani, and Michael Mayer in a joint statement. "She was a force of nature, a brilliant storyteller in her own right, and represented her husband Jule Styne’s genius legacy with creativity and imagination. We’ll miss her dearly, but her spirit will be imbued in our Broadway production of Funny Girl.”
Born Margaret Brown in Torquay, England, she worked as a model and actor throughout the 1950s. She was under contract with 20th Century Fox when producer Ray Stark set her up on a blind date with Broadway lyricist Bob Merrill.
The pair were not a match, but through Merrill she was introduced to his songwriting partner, Jule Styne. They married shortly after their first meeting, and remained together for 32 years until his death in 1994. Following his passing, she became the trustee of his estate.
“She took great pride in her new position and was a great advocate for Jule’s music, establishing a new focus on the preservation of his musical legacy as well as overseeing several revivals of his shows both off and on Broadway," said the Styne Organization. "You can be sure she was around for all those productions peppering each rehearsal room with stories about Jule, his collaborators, and various out-of-town tales she was lucky enough to have witnessed first-hand. Margaret’s enthusiasm and tenacity will be missed, and we hope to carry the torch with as much heart and dedication as she did. And just for the record, her favorite Jule Styne songs were ‘The Ballet of the Red Shoes’ and ‘I, Yes Me, That’s Who.’”