Award-winning lyricist Norman Gimbel dies, aged 91

Grammy and Oscar-winning lyricist Norman Gimbel (left) together with long-time collaborator Charles Fox.
Grammy and Oscar-winning lyricist Norman Gimbel (left) together with long-time collaborator Charles Fox.PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM YOUTUBE/VLADIMIR MASLOVSKIY

Grammy and Oscar-winning lyricist Norman Gimbel, known for the iconic themes penned for TV series such as Happy Days, The Paper Chase and Wonder Woman, has died. He was 91.

His son Tony told The Hollywood Reporter that his father had died at his home in Montecito, California, on Dec 19.

Music rights organisation Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI) confirmed the death, saying it was "greatly saddened" to learn of his passing.

In a statement on its website last Friday, it said: "A truly gifted and prolific writer, Gimbel will be greatly missed by his friends and fans at BMI."

Gimbel's works included Jim Croce's I Got A Name and Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly With His Song. The latter, written with long-time collaborator Charles Fox, was Song of the Year at the Grammys in 1973, said Variety magazine.

It was later covered by American hip-hop group, the Fugees.

The Brooklyn native also wrote English lyrics to the songs The Girl From Ipanema and Sway.

GIFTED WRITER

A truly gifted and prolific writer, Gimbel will be greatly missed by his friends and fans at BMI.

MUSIC RIGHTS ORGANISATION BROADCAST MUSIC, INC, on the death of Oscar-winning lyricist Norman Gimbel.

He won a Best Original Song Award at the 1979 Academy Awards for his song It Goes Like It Goes, co-written with composer David Shire for the motion picture Norma Rae.

In a Dec 27 Facebook post, American composer Robert Folk, who had written about 15 songs with Gimbel, called him an "incredible talent, brilliant in every way".

He also recounted fondly a quote from Gimbel: "Don't ever tell them how easy this work is for us, and how much fun we've had writing these songs! Or else they'll never pay us all this money again!"

Gimbel was born in Brooklyn, New York, on Nov 16, 1927, and attended Baruch College and Columbia University, said The Hollywood Reporter.

He moved to the west coast of the US in 1967, where he worked with the likes of composers Quincy Jones and Elmer Bernstein.

In 1984, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, the BBC reported.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 30, 2018, with the headline 'Award-winning lyricist Norman Gimbel dies, aged 91'. Print Edition | Subscribe