Herbert Kretzmer was born in South Africa, where he began a career in journalism writing the commentary for a weekly cinema newsreel. He came to live in London in 1954, and has since pursued twin careers as newspaperman and songwriter. He was feature writer on The Daily Sketch and a profile writer on The Sunday Despatch. He joined The Daily Express in 1960 and later became its drama critic, a post he held for 18 years, covering about 3,000 first nights.
From 1979 to 1987, he wrote television criticism for The Daily Mail, winning, in this capacity, two national press awards.
As a lyric writer he wrote weekly songs for That Was The Week That Was and the later Ned Sherrin television shows. He won an Ivor Novello Award for the Peter Sellers/Sophia Loren comedy song ‘Goodness Gracious Me’. Other award-winning songs include two written with, and for, Charles Aznavour: ‘Yesterday When I Was Young’ and the chart-topping ‘She’.
Herbert Kretzmer wrote the book and lyrics for the West End musical Our Man Crichton, which starred Kenneth More and Millicent Martin, and the lyrics for The Four Musketeers, which ran for over a year at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, starring Harry Secombe as D’Artagnan. He also supplied the lyrics for the Anthony Newley musical film Can Heironymous Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness? He was the co-lyricist for Kristina which he wrote with Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (ABBA), premiered at Carnegie Hall, New York, in September 2009.
Herbert Kretzmer’s latest work is Marguerite, written with Michel Legrand, Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg.