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Mort Shuman Composer, Singer

Times Staff and Wire Reports

Composer and singer Mort Shuman, who wrote hits for American and French stars, including Elvis Presley, and also produced the musical “Jacques Brel Is Alive and Well and Living in Paris,” died early Sunday in a London hospital, his agent said. He was 52.

The announcement in Paris by Charley Marouani did not list a cause of death. Shuman underwent a liver operation last spring and was hospitalized again two weeks ago.

Born in Brooklyn of Polish Jewish immigrants, Shuman studied at the New York Conservatory and became a devotee of rhythm-and-blues clubs in Harlem.

Shuman began writing lyrics at 18 and teamed with Jerome (Doc) Pomus to write such late 1950s and early ‘60s hits as “Save the Last Dance for Me” and “Sweets for My Sweet” for the Drifters, “His Latest Flame” and “Little Sister” for Elvis Presley and “Teen-Ager in Love” for Dion and the Belmonts.

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In 1966, Shuman became enamored of the music of the popular French singer Jacques Brel.

Shuman moved to France and undertook the job of translating, and sometimes singing, Brel’s work in English. Out of that came his 1968 musical, which ran on Broadway for seven years.


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