NEW YORK • Adam Schlesinger, an acclaimed singer who had an award-winning second career writing songs for film, theatre and television, died on Wednesday in New York. He was 52.
The cause was complications of the coronavirus, his family said.
Schlesinger is known for his work with American rock band Fountains Of Wayne, which was started in 1995. He and band-mate Chris Collingwood perfected a novelistic form of hummable pop-rock in a style derived from the Kinks and from 1970s groups like Big Star and the Cars.
Almost from the start of his career, Schlesinger found success in other mediums.
He wrote the Beatles-esque theme song to That Thing You Do!, a 1996 film directed by Tom Hanks about an also-ran 1960s rock band; like the best Fountains Of Wayne songs, That Thing You Do! had an instantly catchy melody, a twisting chord progression and plenty of wordplay.
The movie brought Schlesinger nominations for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe. He also won three Emmys, including one last year for his songs on the 2010s TV show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which often threaded campy, Broadway-style numbers into its plot.
He received two Grammy nominations with Fountains Of Wayne, but his sole trophy was for his work with comedy writer David Javerbaum - another frequent collaborator - on Stephen Colbert's A Colbert Christmas: The Greatest Gift Of All!, which took best comedy album in 2010.
Hanks, who himself is recovering from Covid-19, wrote on Twitter, "There would be no Playtone without Adam Schlesinger, without his That Thing You Do! He was a One-der. Lost him to Covid-19. Terribly sad today."
Over in England, British dialect coach and actor Andrew Jack has died in Surrey at 76 from the coronavirus on Tuesday, according to his agent Jill McCullough.
Jack is best known as the dialect coach for movies such as The Lord Of The Rings film series (2001 to 2003), where he created the Middle-earth accents, The Avengers (2012) and Men In Black: International (2019).
He was working as a coach on the new movie The Batman before his death.
His acting credits included the role of Resistance officer Caluan Ematt in the Star Wars movies The Force Awakens (2015) and The Last Jedi (2017), and he also voiced Moloch in Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018).
Meanwhile, in ballet, Wilhelm Burmann, a master teacher and coach for the world's top ballet dancers for more than four decades, has died of renal failure after his treatment was complicated by the coronavirus, a close friend said. He was 80.
Burmann died peacefully on Monday, five days before his 81st birthday, in New York City, where he tested positive for the virus, said his health care proxy and friend, Jane Haugh.
His regular students included stars such as Julio Bocca and Alessandra Ferri of American Ballet Theatre, and Wendy Whelan and Maria Kowroski of New York City Ballet.