3 Best Howard Ashman Quotes from the Famous American Playwright

Howard Elliott Ashman (1950-1991), an esteemed American playwright, lyricist and stage director, is best known for his invaluable contributions to Walt Disney Animation Studios.

Collaborating closely with composer Alan Menken, Ashman played a significant role in the Disney Renaissance, writing lyrics for beloved films including Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.

Born in Baltimore, Ashman pursued theater from a young age, completing a Masters in Fine Arts at Indiana University.

His collaboration with Menken started in 1979, a partnership that would lead to numerous accolades.


Ashman’s influence was pivotal in reviving Disney’s musical animation genre, emphasizing the importance of casting actors with strong musical theater and acting backgrounds.

During the production of The Little Mermaid, Ashman was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS but continued his lyrical work for Beauty and the Beast despite his deteriorating health.

Ashman, a two-time Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Award recipient, passed away in 1991.

Best Howard Ashman Quotes


I was innocent but certain, now I’m wiser but unsure. ~ Howard Ashman.

I want adventure in the great wide somewhere.
I want it more than I can tell.
And for once it might be grand
To have someone understand
I want so much more than they’ve got planned… ~ Howard Ashman.

In almost every musical ever written, there’s a place that’s usually about the third song of the evening – sometimes it’s the second, sometimes it’s the fourth, but it’s quite early – and the leading lady usually sits down on something; sometimes it’s a tree stump in Brigadoon, sometimes it’s under the pillars of Covent Garden in My Fair Lady, or it’s a trash can in Little Shop of Horrors… but the leading lady sits down on something and sings about what she wants in life. And the audience falls in love with her and then roots for her to get it for the rest of the night. ~ Howard Ashman.

So these were the 3 top Howard Ashman quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Wilma Mankiller quotes and Ken Griffey Jr quotes.

Short Biography of Howard Ashman

Howard Ashman was a pivotal American playwright and lyricist, especially noted for his significant contributions to Disney’s animated classics, including “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Aladdin.”

Born in Baltimore, he developed his passion for theater early on and further honed his skills with a Master’s degree in Fine Arts.

Full Name Howard Elliott Ashman
Born 17 May 1950, Baltimore, Maryland, United States
Died 14 March 1991 (age 40 years), New York, New York, United States
Resting Place Ohev Shalom Memorial Park, Reisterstown, Maryland, U.S.
Awards 2 Academy Awards (1989, 1991), 5 Grammy Awards (1991, 1993, 1994)
Parents Shirley Thelma Glass, Raymond Albert Ashman
Partner(s) Stuart White (1969–1980, 1983); Bill Lauch (1984–1991)
Siblings Sarah Ashman
Notable Work Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin
Alma Mater Indiana University, Boston University
Occupations Playwright, Lyricist, Stage Director
Years Active 1977–1991

In New York, his partnership with composer Alan Menken led to iconic works like “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Ashman’s innovative approach and musical talent helped kick-start the Disney Renaissance, a period of revitalized creativity and success for the studio.

Sadly, his life was cut short by HIV/AIDS in 1991, but his legacy lives on through his influential work and posthumous accolades, including two Academy Awards.

Quick Facts about Howard Ashman

  • Howard Ashman was an influential American playwright, lyricist, and stage director.
  • He played a key role in the Disney Renaissance with his contributions to iconic Disney films.
  • Ashman wrote lyrics for “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and “Aladdin.”
  • He collaborated with composer Alan Menken on these and other projects.
  • Born in Baltimore, Maryland, on May 17, 1950, Ashman’s family background was Jewish.
  • His early passion for theater began with the Children’s Theater Association in Baltimore.
  • Ashman pursued higher education in theater and fine arts at Boston University, Goddard College, and Indiana University.
  • He moved to New York in 1974, embarking on a diverse career in theater and publishing.
  • Ashman’s early plays included “Cause Maggie’s Afraid of the Dark” and “Dreamstuff.”
  • He became the artistic director of the WPA Theater in New York in 1977.
  • His notable stage works include “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Smile.”
  • “Little Shop of Horrors” became a significant off-Broadway success and continues to be widely produced.
  • Ashman’s work in film began with his involvement in Disney’s “Oliver & Company.”
  • His groundbreaking work on “The Little Mermaid” revitalized Disney’s animated musical tradition.
  • Ashman was known for casting actors with strong musical theater backgrounds for Disney films.
  • He received two Oscars, two Golden Globes, and four Grammys among other accolades.
  • Ashman’s partnership with Menken led to several classic songs and film scores.
  • He was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in 1988 but continued to work on Disney projects.
  • Ashman passed away on March 14, 1991, before the release of “Beauty and the Beast.”
  • “Beauty and the Beast” was dedicated to Ashman, recognizing his immense contribution to the film.
  • His lyrics are celebrated for their wit, warmth, and inventiveness.
  • Ashman’s influence extends beyond Disney, impacting theater and musicals worldwide.
  • Despite facing health challenges, Ashman’s creative output remained prolific until his death.
  • He was involved in Disney’s animation renaissance, contributing to the success of several key films.
  • Ashman’s work has left a lasting legacy in both theater and film.
  • His early interest in theater set the stage for a career that would influence generations of audiences and artists.
  • Ashman’s collaboration with Menken is considered one of the most successful partnerships in musical theater and film.
  • His contributions to Disney’s musicals helped redefine the genre for modern audiences.
  • Ashman’s talent for crafting memorable lyrics helped bring beloved characters and stories to life.
  • Howard Ashman’s legacy is celebrated in the arts community and by Disney fans around the world.

Top Questions about Howard Ashman

Q: When and where was Howard Ashman born?

A: Howard Ashman was born on May 17, 1950, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Q: What notable educational achievement did Ashman accomplish after attending Boston University and Goddard College?

A: Ashman earned a master’s degree in Fine Arts from Indiana University in 1974.

Q: Can you name the first musical Howard Ashman and Alan Menken collaborated on?

A: Their first collaboration was on the 1979 musical “Kurt Vonnegut’s God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater.”

Q: What Disney project marked Howard Ashman’s introduction to working with the company?

A: Ashman’s first project with Disney was writing lyrics for a song in “Oliver & Company.”

Q: For which Disney film did Howard Ashman and Alan Menken win an Academy Award for Best Original Song?

A: They won for the song “Under The Sea” from “The Little Mermaid.”

Q: What significant contribution did Ashman make to the “Disney Renaissance” era?

A: Ashman was a driving force behind the Disney Renaissance, advocating for the integration of animation and musical styles.

Q: How did Howard Ashman’s work influence the development of “Beauty and the Beast”?

A: Despite his declining health, Ashman completed the lyrical work for “Beauty and the Beast,” significantly contributing to its success.

Q: Who accepted Howard Ashman’s posthumous Oscar for “Beauty and the Beast” and what was their relationship to him?

A: Bill Lauch, Ashman’s partner, accepted the posthumous Oscar on his behalf.

Q: What was the cause of Howard Ashman’s death and when did it occur?

A: Ashman died from complications of HIV/AIDS on March 14, 1991.

Q: How many posthumous Academy Award nominations did Howard Ashman receive, and how many did he win in total during his career?

A: Ashman received four posthumous Academy Award nominations and won two Academy Awards in his lifetime.

Q: What songs from the original treatment of “Aladdin” did Howard Ashman and Alan Menken write that were included in the final film?

A: Howard Ashman and Alan Menken wrote “Friend Like Me,” “Prince Ali,” and “Arabian Nights” for “Aladdin,” which were included in the final version of the film.

Q: Who is remembered for giving a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul in the dedication of “Beauty and the Beast”?

A: Howard Ashman is remembered in the dedication of “Beauty and the Beast” for giving a mermaid her voice and a beast his soul.

Q: What notable first did Howard Ashman achieve posthumously in relation to the Oscars?

A: Howard Ashman was the first AIDS victim to receive a posthumous Oscar, which he won for the title song of “Beauty and the Beast.”

Q: Who accepted the Oscar on behalf of Howard Ashman for the title song of “Beauty and the Beast”?

A: Bill Lauch, Howard Ashman’s partner, accepted the Oscar on his behalf.

Share with others!
Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar