Herbert Kretzmer was born in South Africa where he began a career in journalism, writing the commentary for a weekly cinema newsreel. He lived in London from 1954, pursuing twin careers as newspaperman and songwriter. He joined the Daily Express in 1960 and later became its senior drama critic, a post he held for 18 years. He later won two national press awards as the television critic for the Daily Mail. As a lyricist, he wrote weekly songs for That Was the Week That Was. He won an Ivor Novello Award for the Peter Sellers/Sophia Loren comedy song Goodness Gracious Me.
Other award-winning lyrics include two songs written with, and for, Charles Aznavour: Yesterday When I Was Young and the chart-topping She. He wrote the book and lyrics for the West End musical Our Man Crichton, starring Kenneth More and Millicent Martin, and the lyrics for The Four Musketeers, starring Harry Secombe as D’Artagnan.
He also collaborated with Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson (ABBA), Anthony Newley and Michael Legrand. Kreztmer was the recipient of two honorary doctorates and was appointed OBE in 2010. He sadly passed away on 14th October 2020 aged 95.