|Born||October 18, 1940|
New York City, U.S.
|Died||June 1, 2023 (aged 82)|
|Alma mater||Sarah Lawrence College|
Cynthia Weil (October 18, 1940 – June 1, 2023) was an American songwriter who wrote many songs together with her husband Barry Mann. Weil and Mann were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010. In 1987, she was inducted with her husband into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and in 2011, they jointly received the Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor bestowed by that Hall of Fame.
Weil and her husband, both based at the Brill Building, were instrumental in shaping the sound of rock and roll in the 1960s, alongside other luminaries such as Carole King, Burt Bacharach, and Neil Diamond.
Weil was born in New York City on October 18, 1940. She grew up on the Upper West Side and the Upper East Side of Manhattan in a Conservative Jewish family. Her father was Morris Weil, a furniture store owner and the son of Lithuanian-Jewish immigrants, and her mother was Dorothy Mendez, who grew up in a Sephardic Jewish family in Brooklyn. Weil trained as an actress and dancer, studying theater at Sarah Lawrence College, but soon demonstrated a songwriting ability that led to her collaboration with Barry Mann, whom she married in August 1961. The couple had one daughter, Jenn Mann. Weil became one of the Brill Building songwriters of the 1960s, and one of the most important writers during the emergence of rock and roll.
Weil and her husband went on to create songs for many contemporary artists, winning several Grammy Awards as well as Academy Award nominations for their compositions for film. As their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame biography put it, in part: "Mann and Weil's... [works went from] epic ballads ('On Broadway', 'You've Lost That Lovin' Feelin'') to outright rockers ('Kicks', 'We Gotta Get Out of This Place') [and they also] placed an emphasis on meaningful lyrics in their songwriting. With Weil writing the words and Mann the music, they came up with a number of songs that addressed such serious subjects as racial and economic divides[,] 'Uptown', ...and the difficult reality of making it in the big city ('On Broadway'). 'Only in America'... tackled segregation and racism, making it rather too controversial for the Drifters, who were the intended artists. 'We Gotta Get Out of This Place' became an anthem for [the] Vietnam soldier, antiwar protesters, and young people who viewed it as an anthem of greater opportunities."
In 1987, she was inducted with her husband into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1988, Weil won two awards at the 30th Annual Grammy Awards for co-writing "Somewhere Out There" from the animated film An American Tail: Song of the Year and Best Song Written for Visual Media.
In 2004, Mann and Weil's They Wrote That? a musical revue based on their songs, opened in New York. In it, Mann sang and Weil related stories about the songs and their personal history. Weil and Mann were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2010 in the Ahmet Ertegun Award category. "From the bottom of my heart and with the greatest humility," Weil said in her acceptance, "I thought you guys would never ask." In 2011, Mann and Weil received the Johnny Mercer Award, the highest honor from the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In 2015, Weil published her first novel, I'm Glad I Did, a mystery set in 1963.
Weil died at home in Beverly Hills, California, on June 1, 2023, at age 82.
Main article: List of songs written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil