b. 27 February 1930, Los Angeles, California, USA, d. 26 April 2003, New York City, New York, USA. After studying at Yale University, Stone wrote librettos and screenplays from the early 60s. His libretto for Kean (1961) was uninspired and so, too, was the production, and although the show had music and lyrics by Robert Wright and George Forrest it was a failure. Also unsuccessful was Skyscraper (1965), but Stone’s libretto was nominated for a Tony Award. Meanwhile, he had won an Emmy for his television work and his screenplays were being filmed in Hollywood. Many of these were glossy, fast-moving romantic thrillers and included Charade (1963, based upon his novel, The Unsuspecting Wife), Father Goose (1964, a collaboration with Frank Tarloff for which they won an Oscar for Best Screenplay), Mirage (1965), Arabesque (1966, a collaboration with Julian Mitchell and Stanley Price), The Secret War Of Harry Frigg (1968, with Tarloff), Jigsaw (1968, a re-working of his Mirage screenplay for television), and Sweet Charity (1969, based upon Neil Simon’s stage musical).
Back on Broadway, Stone wrote the libretto for 1776 (1969) in collaboration with Sherman Edwards who wrote the music and lyrics. This time, Stone’s Tony award nomination was successful. Later, he wrote the screenplay for the show’s 1972 film version, which retained several of the original Broadway cast, including William Daniels, Howard Da Silva and Ken Howard. Other librettos of this decade were Two By Two (1970), Sugar (1972, based upon the 1959 movie Some Like It Hot), and Woman Of The Year (1981). For the latter, Stone won another Tony. Apart from the film version of 1776, other screenplays of the 70s were The Taking Of Pelham One Two Three (1974), Silver Bears (1978), and Who Is Killing The Great Chefs Of Europe? (1978). Another Tony nomination came for 1983’s critically maligned Broadway musical My One And Only, which starred Tommy Tune. Tune also starred in Stone’s Grand Hotel (1989), a revised version of the successful 30s show. A further Tony nomination came for Stone’s libretto for The Will Rogers Follies (1991). Critics panned the show, despite music by Cy Coleman and lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green. They also savaged Titanic (1997). This show, however, won a Tony award as Best Musical, while Stone won his third Tony for Best Book. Stone, who on occasion used the pseudonym Pierre Marton, died in April 2003 from pulmonary fibrosis.