ENTERTAINMENT

Songwriter Allee Willis, Who Did ‘Friends’ Theme, Dies

Dec 25, 2019, 12:31 PM
FILE: Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee Allee Willis attends the Songwriters Hall of Fame 49th Annu...
FILE: Songwriters Hall of Fame Inductee Allee Willis attends the Songwriters Hall of Fame 49th Annual Induction and Awards Dinner at New York Marriott Marquis Hotel on June 14, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame )
(Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for Songwriters Hall Of Fame )

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Allee Willis, a songwriter whose work included the Broadway musical “The Color Purple” as well as the theme song from the TV show “Friends” and Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September,” has died. She was 72.

The cause of death Tuesday was a cardiac event, her publicist, Ellyn Solis, told The New York Times.

The Times did not specify where she died, though she had been living in Los Angeles. The Associated Press could not immediately reach Solis.

Willis was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2018 — more than 30 years after she won a Grammy for co-writing Patti LaBelle’s “Stir It Up” for the soundtrack of “Beverly Hills Cop.”

She was nominated for but did not win, Grammy and Tony awards for co-writing the music for “The Color Purple.”

She was also nominated for an Emmy for the “Friends” theme song, “I’ll Be There for You” performed by the Rembrandts but lost to the theme of “Star Trek: Voyager.”

She wrote hundreds of other songs, including pieces for Ray Charles, Sister Sledge and Cyndi Lauper.

“I, very thankfully, have a few songs that will not go away,” she told The Times in 2018, “but they’re schlepping along 900 others.”

Willis grew up in Detroit and was raised on the sounds of Motown, though she never learned to play music. She attributes her love for music to visiting Motown studios every weekend while growing up.

“I would sit on the lawn,” she told The Times. “You could watch everyone come in. But most importantly you could hear through the walls, which is how I became a songwriter.”

She is survived by her partner, Prudence Fenton.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Entertainment

Catherine Martin, Austin Butler, Olivia DeJonge, Baz Luhrmann and Tom Hanks attends the Australian ...
JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer

‘Elvis,’ ‘Top Gun’ tie for box-office crown with $30.5M each

Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis Presley biopic “Elvis” shook up theaters with an estimated $30.5 million in weekend ticket sales, but — in a box-office rarity — “Elvis” tied “Top Gun: Maverick,” which also reported $30.5 million, for No. 1 in theaters.
22 hours ago
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 26: Bleu speak onstage during the 2022 BET Awards at Microsoft Theat...
JONATHAN LANDRUM Jr. AP Entertainment Writer

Stars use BET Awards stage to criticize Roe v. Wade ruling

Big stars used the BET Awards stage to strongly criticize the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strip away women’s constitutional protection for abortion.
2 days ago
In 1991, when actor Mila Kunis moved to the United States, her family left their home in what was t...
Gabriel Kinder, CNN

Mila Kunis responds to the war in Ukraine by raising millions of dollars to aid those who are suffering

In early March, Mila Kunis and her husband, Ashton Kutcher, launched Stand With Ukraine, with the goal of raising $30 million. To date, the campaign has raised more than $36 million, and more than 75,000 people have donated.
4 days ago
Khaby Lame has unseated Charli D'Amelio to become the most popular person on TikTok. He has some 14...
Faith Karimi, CNN

This wordless comedian is now the most-followed person on TikTok

Comedian Khaby Lame has become the king of TikTok — all without uttering a word.
5 days ago
Composer John Williams attends the 40 Years of Star Wars panel during the 2017 Star Wars Celebratio...
JAKE COYLE, AP Film Writer

John Williams, 90, steps away from film, but not music

After more than six decades of making bicycles soar, sending swimmers panicking and other spellbinding close encounters, John Williams is putting the final notes on what may be his last film score.
5 days ago
Michael J. Fox will be honored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for his contribu...
CNN wire

Michael J. Fox to be awarded honorary Oscar

Michael J. Fox will be honored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for his contributions to film and his efforts to help cure Parkinson's disease.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Songwriter Allee Willis, Who Did ‘Friends’ Theme, Dies