Charles Fox (at the piano) sings and plays some of his well-known TV themes and hit songs for the guests at the 2009 SCL Holiday Dinner, as SCL Ambassador Lalo Schifrin (L) looks on.
The following are remarks made by SCL President Dan Foliart:
Charles Fox. Few, if any, of our colleagues have enjoyed success in more than one area of our profession. If I were to tell you that Charlie has written one of the most performed songs in the BMI repertoire, Killing Me Softly, that would certainly be enough to make an entire career. If I were to point out that his scores to such favorites as Foul Play and Goodbye Columbus were filled with some of the most well crafted score cues of their era, then one would certainly say, this is a multi-talented gentleman. How about adding the themes and underscore to some of the most successful television series of the past fifty years, Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley? Even this wouldn’t give you the entire picture. This past July Charlie conducted the Warsaw Opera Company Chorus and Orchestra in the premiere of his oratorio, Lament and Prayer, based on the words of Pope John Paul II at the Poland National Opera House. He also did concerts in Krakow, Poland, and in Israel. He is now working on a commission from the Warsaw Opera orchestra for a piece for piano and orchestra in honor of the 200th birthday of Chopin that will premiere in 2010. Also, for the next 2 years he will be the composer in residence with the Young Musician’s Foundation and he’s preparing a new work for that orchestra that will be performed in March.
Charles Fox graduated from the High School of Music and Arts in New York City and soon was on his way to Paris to study with the legendary Nadia Boulanger. What began as a summer turned into a two-year intensive program that greatly enhanced Charlie’s compositional technique and prepared him for his life in music. Charlie’s love of latin music began at an early age. By 15, he was performing in the Catskills and learning the musical language of salsa. When I first met Charlie, I was greatly influenced by his music, and a lot that I learned through osmosis were those great rhythms that he employed on the theme song for the TV series Angie and another one of his hit songs Different Worlds. That was my first series to compose the underscore for. I spent so long trying to explain that I didn’t write that song that finally I got smart and starting just saying “thank you very much” when people told me what a great song it was. In fact, my partner (at the time) Howard Pearl and I were brought in to do the underscore for the last three years of Laverne and Shirley and Happy Days and Charlie’s scores pretty much were a post graduate degree in film scoring.
Charlie’s success in musical composition has encompassed countless scores for features and television movies. Beginning with Barbarella, and continuing to this day, his music has graced such favorites as 9 to 5, One on One, The Gods’ Must be Crazy 2, Two Minute Warning, Short Circuit 2, and European Vacation to mention only a few. His themes continue to play all over the world, including Wonder Woman and the Love Boat. He has been nominated multiple times for the Oscar, including Ready to Take a Chance Again from Foul Play, which also received a Golden Globe nomination and Richard’s Window from the Other Side of the Mountain. In addition to an Emmy nomination for his work on the Paper Chase, he has received two Emmys for his music on Love American Style as well as two additional nominations for that series as well as a Grammy. He has received BMI’s most prestigious recognition, the Richard Kirk Award, and sits on the advisory board for the Society of Composers and Lyricists as well as serving as a Governor of the Motion Picture Academy.
His songs show the hand of craftsmanship befitting a recent inductee into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. His collaborators include Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Paul Williams, and his co-writer on many of his celebrated songs and themes, Norman Gimbel. One of his most beloved songs, I’ve Got a Name, climbed the charts posthumously for Jim Croce. Killing Me Softly became a major hit for the Fugees following the phenomenal success of Roberta Flack’s top selling single and no doubt it will return again.
Charlie has done great work for the Theater. His scores for A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream and an emotional version of the Grapes of Wrath yielded a wonderful group of songs. According to Charlie, some of his most satisfying and fulfilling work has been done for the Ballet. Among his work in this area are Zorro and Song for Dead Warriors, which was commissioned by the San Francisco ballet. After remaining in their repertoire for several years, it became a long-standing work that was performed around the world by the Dance Theatre of Harlem. Besides being a gifted composer, his philanthropic work for such worthwhile charities as the Fulfillment Fund make him the wonderful individual that we are proud to honor tonight.