Tom Jones, Creator of 'The Fantasticks,' Dead at 95

Tom Jones  'The Fantasticks' at Snapple Theater Center in New York City
Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images

'The Fantasticks' made history as the longest-running musical of all time, featuring Rita Moreno, Kristen Chenoweth and Aaron Carter.

Tom Jones -- the lyricist, director and writer of the longest-running musical of all time, The Fantasticks -- has died. He was 95. 

Jones died Friday at his home in Sharon, Connecticut. His son, Michael, told The New York Times that he had cancer. 

Together with frequent collaborator Harvey Schmidt, Jones launched The Fantasticks in 1960. The production was based on the play Les Romanesques by Edmond Rostand, featuring a minimalist set as the backdrop of a Romeo and Juliet-inspired tale. It is best known for its opening song, "Try to Remember."

The Fantasticks ran for nearly 42 years at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in Greenwich Village, closing in 2002. It later reopened, running again from 2006 until 2017 at The Snapple Theater Center in the heart of Times Square. The Associated Press reports that it closed as the longest-running production of any kind in the history of American theater, with a whopping 21,552 performances. 

In 1991, the show was awarded Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre.

Jerry Orbach, Rita Gardner, Ricardo Montalban and Kristin Chenoweth are among those who have starred in the show, as well as the late Aaron Carter in 2012. Jones also acted in the production, using the stage name Thomas Bruce. 

Walter McBride/Corbis via Getty Images

"So many people have come, and this thing stays the same -- the platform, the wooden box, the cardboard moon," Jones told the AP in 2013. "We just come and do our little thing and then we pass on."

Jones was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1998. Among his other credits with Schmidt are the Broadway shows 110 in the Shade and I Do! I Do!, both of which earned Tony nominations. 

Jones is survived by his two sons, Michael and Sam.