Charles Fox (composer)
|Born||Charles Ira Fox
October 30, 1940
New York City, New York, U.S.
Charles Ira Fox (born October 30, 1940) is an American composer for film and television. His most heard compositions are probably the "love themes" (the sunshine pop musical backgrounds which accompanied every episode of the 1970s ABC-TV show Love, American Style), and the dramatic theme music to ABC's Wide World of Sports and the original Monday Night Football, as well as his (and Norman Gimbel's) Grammy winning hit song "Killing Me Softly With His Song".
Fox was born in New York City, the son of Mollie and Walter Fox, a Jewish immigrant from Szydlowiec (Poland). Having graduated from High School of Music and Art, Fox continued his musical education with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He studied the jazz-piano with Lennie Tristano and he learned electronic music with Vladimir Ussachevsky at Columbia University. He married Joan Susan Redman on 9 September 1962.
His career started by playing the piano for, composing and arranging for artists such as Ray Barretto, Joe Quijano and Tito Puente. He also wrote theme music and arranged for Skitch Henderson and The Tonight Show Orchestra. Fox worked under the banner of Bob Israel's Score Productions where he composed the themes for several Goodson-Todman game shows including NBC's version of the Match Game, the syndicated versions of What's My Line?, and To Tell The Truth, whose lyrics were written by Goodson-Todman director Paul Alter. He co-composed the theme song and all the original scores for Love, American Style, along with Arnold Margolin.
Fox also co-composed "Killing Me Softly with His Song" with Norman Gimbel in 1972 which become an international #1 hit for Roberta Flack in 1973 and again for The Fugees in 1997. The song won the Grammy for Best Song 1973). Fox & Gimbel later wrote the themes for many films such as The Last American Hero ("I Got a Name", sung by Jim Croce), Foul Play ("Ready to Take a Chance Again", sung by Barry Manilow) and many long-running television series, among them Happy Days, Laverne and Shirley ("Make Our Dreams Come True" sung by Cyndi Grecco), Angie ("Different Worlds" sung by Maureen McGovern), The Paper Chase ("The First Years" sung by Seals and Crofts; Emmy-nominated Best Song), and Wonder Woman. He also composed The Love Boat theme with Paul Williams, sung by Jack Jones and later, by Dionne Warwick; and "Together Through The Years" with Stephen Geyer from The Hogan Family, sung by Roberta Flack.
Fox's memoirs: "KILLING ME SOFTLY; MY LIFE IN MUSIC by Charles Fox" was published in 2010 by Scarecrow Press.
Notable artists who worked with Fox
Most of his work is for film and television. He has worked with many artists, of these the most notable are:
- Roberta Flack, whose version of "Killing Me Softly With His Song" is better known than Lori Lieberman's original
- Anson Williams
- Sarah Vaughan
- Barry Manilow
- Jim Croce
- Fred Astaire
- Luther Vandross
- Johnny Cash
- Lena Horne
- Peggy March
- George Shearing
- The Boston Pops
- Jack Jones
- Tito Puente
- Goldie Hawn
- Carly Simon
- Johnny Mathis
- Shirley Bassey
- Crystal Gayle
- Lori Lieberman
- Sérgio Mendes
- Maureen McGovern
- Olivia Newton-John
- Lauryn Hill & The Fugees
"The Charles Fox Singers" was the credited name for the group vocalists who performed his compositions on television and movie themes and cues; they were actually The Ron Hicklin Singers.
In total Fox has created film scores for over 100 films including:
- Barbarella (1968)
- Goodbye, Columbus (1969)
- Pufnstuf (1970)
- The Laughing Policeman (1973)
- The Last American Hero (1973) (NY Film critics Best Song of the year "I Got a Name")
- The Other Side of the Mountain (1975) (Oscar and Golden Globe Nominated, Best Song "Richard's Window" and Best Score)
- The Duchess & The Dirtwater Fox (1976)
- One on One (1977)
- Foul Play (1978) (Oscar & Golden Globe nominated, Best Song "Ready To Take A Chance Again")
- Oh, God! Book II (1980)
- The Last Married Couple in America (1980)
- Little Darlings (1980)
- National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985)
- Strange Brew (1983)
- The Gods Must Be Crazy II (1990)
- Gordy & 100 Voices (2010).
Awards and honors
- Fox was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
- BMI Richard Kirk Award For Outstanding Life Achievement
- Grammy Award – Best Song of the Year - "Killing Me Softly with His Song"
- New York Film Critics Award – Best Film Song - “I Got a Name”
- Emmy Winner – Best Score - “Love American Style”
- Emmy Winner – Best Theme Song - “Love American Style”
- Emmy Nomination (Four Times) – Best Score, “Love American Style”
- Emmy Nomination – Best Song, “The Paper Chase”
- Oscar Nomination – Best Original Song, “Richard’s Window”/The Other Side of the Mountain
- Oscar Nomination – Best Song, “Ready to Take a Chance Again”/Foul Play
- Golden Globe Nomination – Best Original Score, "The Other Side of the Mountain”
- Golden Globe Nomination – Best Song, “Richard’s Window”/The Other Side of the Mountain
- Golden Globe Nomination – Best Song, “Ready to Take a Chance Again”/Foul Play
- Grammy Nomination – Best Soundtrack for a film, “Nine to Five”
- Society of Composers and Lyricists, “Ambassador’s Award” for Life Achievement
- Bronx Walk of Fame, inducted 2008
- Smithsonian Museum permanent exhibit, inducted 2011
- "Charles Fox Biography (1940-)". Filmreference.com. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "Love, American Style | A Television Heaven Review". Televisionheaven.co.uk. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- Charles Fox at the Internet Movie Database
- Songwriters Hall of Fame
- Charles Fox interview video at the Archive of American Television