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Associated Press
In this April 1, 1943 file photo, movie star Jimmy Stewart dances with Mary Rodgers at the "Oklahoma!" fifth birthday party

'Once Upon a Mattress' composer Mary Rodgers dies

NEW YORK — Mary Rodgers, the daughter of Broadway icon Richard Rodgers who found her own fame as composer of the 1959 musical "Once Upon a Mattress" and as the author of the body-shifting book "Freaky Friday," has died. She was 83.

Rodgers died Thursday at her home in Manhattan after a long illness, her son Alec Guettel said.

Rodgers' hit "Once Upon a Mattress," a musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Anderson fable "The Princess and the Pea," made a star of Carol Burnett. A Broadway revival in 1996 starred Sarah Jessica Parker. Her other shows include "From A to Z," a revue featuring her songs, and two other short-lived shows: "Hot Spot" and "The Madwoman of Central Park West," a one-person musical starring Phyllis Newman.

She was also a children's book author who scored big with "Freaky Friday," in which a mother and daughter trade bodies. The book was twice adapted into a Disney movie, most recently in 2003 starring Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan. Her other books include "A Billion for Boris," ''Summer Switch" and "The Rotten Book."

The daughter of "South Pacific" and "Flower Drum Song" composer Richard Rodgers and Dorothy Rodgers, Mary Rodgers was also the mother of a musical theater composer, Adam Guettel, a Tony Award winner for "The Light in the Piazza."

She had been married to Henry Guettel, former executive director of the Theatre Development Fund, who died last year. She is survived by her sister, Linda Rodgers Emory, and five children.

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