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Norman Gimbel, lyricist behind Wonder Woman's iconic theme song, dead at 91

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Dec 28, 2018

Norman Gimbel, a musician whose work spans seven decades, has died at the age of 91. Deadline reported today that the Oscar- and Grammy-winning songwriter passed away at his home in Montecito, California, on Dec. 19.

Gimbel, who's also a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, famously co-wrote the theme song to the 1970s TV series Wonder Woman, along with his writing partner, Charles Fox. The show ran for three seasons, from 1975-1979, and starred Lynda Carter as the Amazonian superhero (you can stream the series in its entirety on DC Universe), properly introduced each week by such an iconic theme...

In addition to Wonder Woman, Gimbel and Fox also wrote the instantly recognizable theme songs for shows like Happy Days and Laverne and Shirley. On the big screen, he scored films like The Phantom Tollbooth and Pufnstuf, the feature film based on the puppet-heavy kids' show H.R. Pufnstuf.

While not limited to traditional scoring, several of Gimbel's tunes can be heard in a number of memorable films and TV shows. There's "Sway," which showed up in Logan, and The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and the Brazilian tune "Girl From Ipanema" that Gimbel re-wrote with English lyrics, which can be heard in everything from The Big Bang Theory to My Little Pony: The Movie, and most recently Pacific Rim: Uprising.

Aside from his work in film and TV, the prolific songwriter penned "Killing Me Softly With His Song," which earned him a Song of the Year Grammy in 1973. Six years later, he'd win an Oscar for Best Song with "It Goes Like It Goes," from the film Norma Rae.

After starting out in music publishing in the 1950s, Gimbel moved on to Broadway by the early '60s. In 1967, he transitioned to Hollywood, where he worked with composers ranging from Elmer Bernstein to Quincy Jones to Burt Bacharach, and even his daughter, Nelly Gimbel.

He's survived by his two sons, Peter and Tony, and two daughters, Nelly and Hannah.


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