'Hairspray' co-writer Mark O'Donnell dies at 58

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by Laura Matovina

NEW YORK (AP) -- Tony Award-winning writer Mark O'Donnell, behind such quirky and clever Broadway shows as "Hairspray and "Cry-Baby," has died. He was 58.

O'Donnell's agent at the Paradigm agency, Jack Tantleff, says the writer collapsed Monday in the lobby of his apartment complex on Manhattan's Upper West side.

O'Donnell won the 2003 Tony for best book of a musical for writing "Hairspray" with Thomas Meehan. The pair earned Tony nominations in 2008 for doing the same for "Cry-Baby."

O'Donnell was picked to help write the musical version of the 1988 John Waters movie "Hairspray" because producer Margo Lion felt he "could appreciate Waters' voice but was idiosyncratic enough to inject his own personality into the piece."

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