Hirschhorn, Joel 1937–2005

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Hirschhorn, Joel 1937–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born December 18, 1937, in New York, NY; died of a heart attack, September 18, 2005, in Thousand Oaks, CA. Singer, musician, composer, and author. Hirschhorn was an award-winning lyricist and musical composer for film, television, and Broadway. Graduating from the prestigious High School for the Performing Arts in New York, he attended Hunter College before setting out on his own as a pianist and singer in nightclubs. He also was a member of the rock band the Highlighters before finding success as a composer. Often teaming up with Al Kasha, Hirschhorn rose to prominence in the 1970s, winning Oscars for "The Morning After" in 1973 and "We May Never Love like This Again" in 1975. (These songs were performed in the films The Poseidon Adventure and The Towering Inferno, respectively.) He was also nominated twice in 1977, with Kasha, for music written for the animated Disney film Pete's Dragon, including their song "Candle on the Water." In television, Hirshhorn wrote the theme song to the sitcom Three's Company and the nighttime soap Knot's Landing; for the theater he and Kasha earned two Antoinette Perry awards for the 1981 musical Copperfield and the 1983 revival of Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. While he continued to write for stage and screen into the 1990s, Hirschhorn also began writing columns on music, was theater critic for Variety, and wrote or cowrote several books. Among his publications are If They Ask You, You Can Write a Song (1979; revised edition, 1990) and Reaching the Morning After (1986), both written with Kasha; and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Song Writing (2001). In 2001 he also wrote the play Musical Chairs with his wife, Jennifer Hirschhorn.



Independent (London, England), September 26, 2005, p. 36.

Los Angeles Times, September 20, 2005, p. B11.

New York Times, September 21, 2005, p. C18.

Times (London, England), October 20, 2005, p. 73.

Washington Post, September 26, 2005, p. B4.