Herbert Kretzmer was born on October 5, 1925, in Kronstadt, South Africa, one of William’s four sons and Tilly Kretzmer, a Lithuanian Jewish settler who escaped from the terrorists of Kazarist Russia. Her parents ran a furniture store. His eldest brother Elliott became mayor of Johannesburg.
The songs inspired Herbert. He had no musical training, but played the piano by ear. He graduated from Krunstadt High School in Grahamtown and Rhodes University, where he wrote songs for school musicals. He began writing the weekly Cinema Commons in 1946 for Africa Film Productions. In the early 50’s, he was a journalist and entertainment columnist for the Johannesburg Express.
After landing in London in 1954, he wrote for the Daily Sketch and The Sunday Dispatch. As a theater critic of the Express from 1962 to 1978, he wrote 2,500 reviews and interviewed John Steinbeck, Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and many stage and screen stars. He won two national awards as a television critic for the Daily Mail between 1979 and 1987.
Mr. Kreitzmer married Elizabeth Wilson in 1961. They had two children, Daniel and Matthew, and divorced in 1973. In 1988, she married American Sibyl Saver. He is survived by his second wife, two children and two grandchildren, his agent, Mr. Berlin, said.
In his second career, Mr. Kreitzmer adapted and wrote the lyrics for the 1964 musical “Our Man Crichton” based on the venerable JM Berry’s play “The Admirable Christian” that lasted eight months in London. His collaboration with Mr. Azanwour for Mr. Sherry (1974) helped the French singer to present herself to an international audience.
Mr. Kreitzmer’s royalty from Mr. Late Miz is about 20 million. He bought a townhouse in London and filled it with art, and there were celebrities wherever he went. Queen Elizabeth II declared him an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2011.
But he was always in a moment of loss to explain what happened after that open night in London.