The late lyricist Howard Ashman, who along with composer Alan Menken helped revive Disney’s animated division with The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, is the subject of a new documentary film.
Don Hahn, who served as producer of the 1991 animated Beauty and the Beast and is executive producer of the upcoming live-action remake, is spearheading the project.
Ashman’s sister, Sarah Ashman Gillespie, confirmed the news to Playbill. Gillespie and Ashman’s parter, Bill Lauch, are both involved in the film.
Ashman, who was openly gay, died of complications from AIDS eight months prior to the theatrical release of Beauty and the Beast in 1991. The animated film was dedicated in his honor. When the song “Beauty and the Beast” won the Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1992, it was Lauch, who accepted the award on his behalf—a landmark moment in Oscar history.
In addition to his Disney legacy, Ashman wrote lyrics for Little Shop of Horrors, Smile, and God Bless You Mr. Rosewater.
Watch Ashman coach Jodi Benson on the studio recording of The Little Mermaid’s “Part of Your World.”