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GEISS--Nicholas Anthony (Tony), beloved writer, composer and lyricist for generations of performers and characters from Groucho Marx to the Muppets, died January 21 of complications from a fall. Born in New York on November 16, 1924 and raised in the West Village, Tony was cherished by his colleagues, friends, and family for his warmth, playfulness, lively wit, sweetness, modesty, extraordinary sense of humor and celebratory spirit. Those qualities also made him a national treasure. Tony delighted and nurtured generations of viewers of Sesame Street, where he worked for nearly 40 years, winning 22 Emmys for both script-writing and song-writing. He created the Muppet characters the Honkers and most recently Abby Cadabby and was a co-creator of Elmo's World, composing its theme song. In addition to a long list of television-writing accomplishments and awards, Tony co-wrote three films with Judy Freudberg: "Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird," "An American Tail," and the story for "The Land Before Time." Readers interested in seeing and hearing more of Tony Geiss can enjoy this experience at htttp:// His adored wife of more than 60 years, the former Phyllis Eisen, died December 6, 2009. Devoted friend, adoring husband, Tony leaves behind a large loving extended family, the McKeon, Armando, Townsend, Schlesinger, Saperstein, Mason and Singer families, many close friends, colleagues, and admirers of all ages, who joyfully sang along with his songs without knowing their author, nourished by his creative brilliance. Tony -- we miss you and love you!!! Memorial service will be Thursday, January 27, 11:45am, at Riverside Memorial Chapel, 180 W. 76th St; family at 10:45am, public at 11:45am.

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Published in New York Times on Jan. 24, 2011.
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January 24, 2011
Condolences from Tony's first cousin, Peter J. Schlesinger, and his wife, Lil.
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