I possess a great passion for the art of the popular song. I have a large library of books by & about 20th century songwriters including everyone from Irving Berlin to Sting, Occasionally mentioned as one of the worst songwriters of all time based on his penchant for coming up with best selling novelty songs: If I’d Known You Were Comin’, I'd Have Baked a Cake, Honeycomb, How Much Is That Doggie In the Window?, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania & Mambo Italiano.
Unfair when Bob Merrill is responsible or the music or lyrics for successful Broadway musicals: New Girl In Town, Take Me Along, Carnival, & Funny Girl. But, by the other turn, he gave us the monumental flops: Breakfast At Tiffany’s, Henry, Sweet Henry, Sugar, & The Red Shoes. He also wrote the book & lyrics for the Angela Lansbury vehicle Prettybelle , & the music & lyrics for the Robert Preston musical The Prince of Grand Street , both of which closed during their Boston tryouts. He was nominated for the Tony Award 8 times, but never won. He was nominated for an Oscar for the song- Funny Girl.
Merrill finally tired of the Broadway grind & turned to writing screenplays: the 1975 film Mahogany, starring Diana Ross, WC Fields & Me, with Rod Steiger; Chu Chu & the Philly Flash with Carol Burnett; & Portrait of a Showgirl, starring Rita Moreno, Leslie Ann Warren & Tony Curtis.
Suffering from depression, Bob Merrill took his own life on February 17, 1998 in Los Angeles, California.