Charles Fox
Charles Ira Fox

(1940-10-30) October 30, 1940 (age 83)
Years active1965-present
SpouseJoan Susan Redman (1962-present)

Charles Ira Fox (born October 30, 1940) is an American composer for film and television. His compositions include the sunshine pop musical backgrounds which accompanied every episode of the 1970s ABC-TV show Love, American Style; the theme song for the late 1970s ABC series The Love Boat; and the dramatic theme music to ABC's Wide World of Sports[1] and the original Monday Night Football; as well as the Grammy-winning hit song "Killing Me Softly with His Song", written in collaboration with Lori Lieberman and Fox's longtime writing partner, Norman Gimbel.[2][3]

Early life

Fox was born in New York City, the son of Mollie and Walter Fox.[4] Walter was a Jewish immigrant[5] from Szydlowiec, Poland.

While still a student at the High School of Music & Art, Fox studied jazz piano with Lennie Tristano. He then continued his musical education with Nadia Boulanger, first at Fontainebleau and then privately in Paris. Following his return to the United States, he studied electronic music with Vladimir Ussachevsky at Columbia University.[6] He married Joan Susan Redman on September 9, 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.[7]

Fox also composed the music for "Killing Me Softly with His Song," featuring lyrics by Norman Gimbel and Lori Lieberman, in 1972. The song was inspired by Lieberman listening to Don McLean sing at a nightclub in Los Angeles. Fox and Gimbel had been managing her early career, and the song was released first by Lieberman, with writing credit assigned to Fox and Gimbel, cutting Lieberman out. Lieberman's version was only a minor hit, but the song became an international number 1 hit for Roberta Flack in 1973 and again for the Fugees in 1997. The song won the Grammy for Best Song in 1973. Fox denies Lieberman's involvement, and failed to force McLean to change his website.[2][3]

Fox and 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 television series, including The Bugaloos, Happy Days, Laverne & Shirley ("Making 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 wrote "Together Through The Years" along with fellow composer Stephen Geyer for The Hogan Family series, sung by Roberta Flack.

In 1977, Fox composed "Love Boat", the theme to the popular TV series The Love Boat. It had lyrics by Paul Williams, and was sung by Jack Jones until the ninth and final season when Dionne Warwick was featured. The single released by Jack Jones in 1979 peaked at #37 on the Billboard US Adult Contemporary chart.[8]

In February 1981, Fox peaked at #75 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the song, "Seasons".[9] It was co-written and co-produced by Ed Newmark.[10]

In 2010, Fox published his memoirs, Killing Me Softly: My Life in Music.[11]

"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.

Film scores

This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. Please help by adding reliable sources. Contentious material about living people that is unsourced or poorly sourced must be removed immediately.Find sources: "Charles Fox" composer – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (May 2014) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)

In total Fox has created film scores for over 100 films including:

Awards and honors

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  1. ^ Bartkowiak, Matthew; Kiuchi, Yuya (2015). The Music of Counterculture Cinema: A Critical Study of 1960s and 1970s Soundtracks. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 59. ISBN 978-0786475421. Charles Fox, collaborator for the film's soundtrack, had already established some level of success in scoring the film 'The Incident', as well as penning TV scores including the 'Wide World of Sports' theme...
  2. ^ a b Edgers, Geoff (January 24, 2020). "She sang 'Killing Me Softly' before Roberta Flack. Now she just wants you to hear her side of the story". The Washington Post.
  3. ^ a b "The Lori Lieberman Team". Billboard. June 24, 1974. p. 53.
  4. ^ "Charles Fox Biography (1940-)". Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  5. ^ Congregation, Shir Ami (March 6, 2013). "Hollywood Luminary Charles Fox to Appear at the Avon Theatre for an Exclusive Showing of 100 Voices, A Journey Home". Patch - Darien, CT.
  6. ^ "Charles Fox: Ready to Take a Chance". July 2011. Retrieved 2016-07-21.
  7. ^ "Love, American Style | A Television Heaven Review". Archived from the original on 2012-02-05. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
  8. ^ "Jack Jones Chart History | Billboard". Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  9. ^ "Charles Fox - Billboard Hot 100 History". Billboard. Archived from the original on April 1, 2018. Retrieved March 14, 2021.
  10. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1991). The Billboard Hot 100 Charts: The Eighties (1st ed.). Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research Inc. p. Feb. 7, 1981. ISBN 0-89820-079-2.
  11. ^ Fox, Charles (2010). Killing Me Softly: My Life in Music. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810869929. OCLC 678101101.
  12. ^ Songwriters Hall of Fame, "Charles Fox, Inductee"
  13. ^ Davis, Clayton (2021-09-30). "Kenneth Branagh, Dakota Johnson and 'Red Rocket' Cast Among Middleburg Film Festival Honorees (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2021-10-07.