Norman Gimbel, award-winning lyricist, dies aged 91


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Norman Gimbel, the Oscar- and Grammy-winning lyricist, has died at the age of 91, his family has announced.

Gimbel’s work included Killing Me Softly with his Song – recorded by Roberta Flack, the Fugees and others – and the theme to TV series Happy Days.

He also wrote the English lyrics to the Brazilian bossa nova melody, The Girl from Ipanema.

Gimbel died on 19 December at his home in Montecito, California, his son Tony Gimbel told The Hollywood Reporter.

Music rights organisation BMI said it was “greatly saddened” by news of Gimbel’s death. It described him as a “truly gifted and prolific writer” who would be greatly missed by friends and fans.

Norman Gimbel was born in Brooklyn and began his career with music publishers David Blum and Edwin H Morris. His early successes included the lyrics to Andy Williams’s 1956 hit single Canadian Sunset.

He was best known for his work in film and television, writing the songs for popular shows such as Laverne & Shirley, Wonder Woman and HR Puffnstuff.

Gimbel formed a long-term collaboration with composer Charles Fox and the two of them won a Grammy Award in 1973 for Killing Me Softly.

He and composer David Shire shared an Academy Award for Best Original Song in 1997 for It Goes Like It Goes, which was sung by Jennifer Warnes in the film Norma Rae.

In 1984 Gimbel was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

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