Bock studied at the University of Wisconsin School of Music. He moved to New York in 1950 and launched his career as a songwriter for television, revues, and Broadway musicals. He won the Pulitzer Prize for drama in 1962 for his score for Fiorello! (1959). Bock wrote the musical play Fiddler on the Roof (1964), one of the most successful stage works of the 1960s and '70s.