Howard Elliott Ashman (May 17, 1950 – March 14, 1991) was an American playwright, stage director and lyricist. He collaborated with composer Alan Menken on several works and is most widely known for his work on feature films for Walt Disney Animation Studios, for which Ashman wrote the lyrics and Menken composed the music. Ashman and Menken began their collaboration with the musical God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater (1979), for which Ashman directed and wrote both book and lyrics. Their next musical, Little Shop of Horrors (1982), for which Ashman again directed and wrote both book and lyrics, became a long-running success and led to a 1986 feature film. At Disney, the duo worked on the films The Little Mermaid (1989), which began what is considered to be the "Disney Renaissance", and Beauty and the Beast (1991). After his death, some of Ashman's songs were included in another Disney film, Aladdin (1992).