Oscar- and Grammy-winning lyricist Norman Gimbel, the man behind "Killing Me Softly With His Song," died at age 91 on December 19. He is the recipient of an Oscar and a Grammy Award, and, among other achievements, penned the lyrics to two Broadway musicals.
While Moose Charlap wrote the music, Gimbel wrote the lyrics for the musicals Whoop-Up, the 1958 musical about a romance between a part-Native American rodeo performer and his saloon-running girlfriend; and The Conquering Hero, a musical adaptation of the comedy Hail the Conquering Hero, about a soldier who is immediately discharged from the marines because of hay fever (1961).
Gimbel worked extensively in film and television. With songwriter David Shire, he won an Academy Award for Original Song for "It Goes Like It Goes" from the 1979 film Norma Rae. Previously, he was nominated for the songs "Ready to Take a Chance Again" and "Richard's Window," from Foul Play (1978) and The Other Side of the Mountain (1975), respectively.
He also was the lyricist for a number of theme songs for popular television series, including Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley, Angie, and Wonder Woman.
Gimbel wrote frequently with Charles Fox, with whom he penned the chart-topping "Killing Me Softly With His Song," sung by Roberta Flack and winner of the 1974 Grammy Award for Song of the Year. The two also wrote "I Got a Name," sung by Jim Croce. The song became the theme for the film The Last American Hero.
Other titles of Gimbel’s include “Sway,” “The Girl from Ipanema,” “Meditation,” and “I Will Wait for You.”
Gimbel's death was confirmed by BMI, which paid tribute to the songwriter on its website.