Adolph Green, 87, a powerhouse Broadway lyricist who collaborated with Betty Comden on such productions as "On the Town," "Wonderful Town," "Bells Are Ringing" and several wise and witty screenplays, including "Singin' in the Rain" and "It's Always Fair Weather," died Oct. 23 at his home in New York. No cause of death was reported.
Mr. Green and Comden were one of the longest and most fruitful teams in theater history, and many falsely assumed that they were married to each other.
Describing their work, Mr. Green told a reporter with typical dramatic elan, "Alone, nothing. Together, a household world, a legend, Romulus and Remus, Damon and Pythias, Loeb and Leopold -- Mr. Words and Miss Words."
He began in the 1930s as an actor and raconteur in circles that included Comden, composer Leonard Bernstein and future film star Judy Holliday.
He and Comden launched to fame with "On the Town" (1944), the pioneering wartime ballet with music by Bernstein. A film version in 1949 starred Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly and featured the exuberant song "New York, New York (It's a Helluva Town)."
In Hollywood, they wrote screenplays for some of the best musicals ever made. Those included "Singin' in the Rain" (1952), which satirizes the transition from silent to sound films in the late 1920s. Though that musical reworked musical chestnuts from the 1920s, Mr. Green and Comden wrote the ditty "Moses Supposes (His Toeses Are Roses)" as a showcase for stars Kelly and Donald O'Connor.
His other film scripts included "The Band Wagon" (1953), with Fred Astaire as an aging musical actor who is hired for a lunatic production of "Faust," and "It's Always Fair Weather" (1955), largely a sequel to "On the Town" but with a slightly somber look at post-war reunions.
As his film work flourished, so did his Broadway career. He won seven Tony Awards either as a creator of show or for his lyrics, script or score.
He won for "Wonderful Town" (1953), about two Midwestern girls in Greenwich Village; "Hallelujah, Baby!" (1968), about a black singer facing discrimination; "Applause" (1970), based on the film "All About Eve" about theater vipers; "On the Twentieth Century" (1978), a screwball comedy set in the 1930s; and "The Will Rogers Follies" (1991), about the folk hero.
Some of Mr. Green's and Comden's best-known songs include "The Party's Over," "Just in Time" and "Make Someone Happy." They also wrote lyrics for the 1954 production of "Peter Pan," starring Mary Martin.
Mr. Green never relinquished his dream of acting. He and Comden performed many of their hits in "A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green," a revue staged on Broadway in 1958 and revived over the years.
When the team appeared at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in 1979, a Washington Post reviewer wrote of Mr. Green, "Underneath his unprepossessing form is a manic man who can play an Andrews Sister and a macho goatherd with equal facility and enthusiasm."
Mr. Green, a native of New York, said he enjoyed lampooning the cultural elite. He was partly inspired by the tradition of the famed Algonquin Round Table, the circle of New York writers and humorists that included Dorothy Parker, S.J. Perelman and Robert Benchley.
He found Comden a kindred spirit, saying, "We have a surrealistic sense of humor and love nonsense."
He began his association with her in a satire called "The Revuers," a humorous take on modern American culture. Its popularity led to their collaboration with Bernstein on "On the Town," based on the Bernstein-Jerome Robbins ballet "Fancy Free." Green and Comden also appeared in the Broadway production.
Producer Arthur Freed hired them for Metro Goldwyn Mayer studios. They contributed songs to some of the era's brightest and most-enduring musicals, including "Good News" (1947), "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" (1949) and "The Barkleys of Broadway" (1949), the last feature musical pairing Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
They received an Academy Award nomination for best story and screenplay for "The Band Wagon" and "It's Always Fair Weather."
Several of their Broadway efforts famously flopped, including "A Doll's Life," based on Ibsen's "A Doll's House," and "Lorelei," a sequel to "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."
Still, Mr. Green and Comden met daily and were active sparring partners.
A Washington Post photographer was trying to shoot them for a big spread in 1989 and wanted a certain look.
"Winsome?" Comden asked.
"Win some, lose some," Mr. Green shot back.
Among their awards were Kennedy Center Honors in 1991.