Pitchford, Dean

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Pitchford, Dean


Born in Honolulu, HI. Education: Graduate of Yale University.


Home—Los Angeles, CA. E-mail—[email protected].


Songwriter, including for film soundtracks, television shows, and for Warner Brothers Publishing, Los Angeles, CA; performer in musical stage productions, including Godspell and Pippin. Actor in commercials; director of television programs, including The Washing Machine Man, 1991, and one episode of Lifestyles: Families in Crisis, 1992.


With composer Michael Gore, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy nomination, for the song "Fame"; additional nominations include three Oscars, two Golden Globes, five Grammys, and Two Tony Awards; BMI Country Song of the Year award, 1984, for "Don't Call It Love."


(Screenwriter; songwriter, with others) Footloose, Paramount Pictures, 1984.

The Big One-Oh (juvenile), Putnam (New York, NY), 2007.

Writer of travel guides for Trans World Airlines (TWA).


Footloose was adapted as a television series, as a novel by Robert Tine, Wallaby Books (New York, NY), 1984, and for audio, Q Records, 1998.


Dean Pitchford is a versatile songwriter whose songs have been made famous by singers who include Dolly Parton, Hilary Duff, Cher, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, L.L. Cool J, Whitney Houston, and Merle Haggard. He is best known for the film Footloose, for which he wrote the screenplay and collaborated with others, including Sammy Hagar, Eric Carmen, and Kenny Loggins, who sang the title song. The popular film has was adapted for television and the stage.

Pitchford was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, and studied at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. While at Yale, he helped found the Wooster Square Revival, an experimental theater company for recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. During one summer he tried out for a part in the long-running off-Broadway musical Godspell. Pitchford continued his Yale studies planned around his performance schedule and moved to New York. He later auditioned for Bob Fosse's Pippin, and while appearing in hundreds of performances, he also sang, danced, and acted in more than one hundred commercials for advertisers that included McDonald's and Dr. Pepper.

During the 1970s, cabaret theater became popular in New York, and composers were looking for collaborators. Peter Allen approached Pitchford, who assisted with five songs for Allen's Up in One, which opened in 1979 at the Biltmore Theatre. Michael Gore, brother of singer Lesley Gore, was in the audience, and he contacted Pitchford. Gore had been hired as musical supervisor for a film to be called "Hot Lunch," but which was renamed Fame. Of the three songs that were included, Pitchford and Gore's title song became a smash, sung by Irene Cara, and an international hit, and it earned Pitchford and Gore an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and a Grammy nomination for Song of the Year.

With Tom Snow, Pitchford wrote "Don't Call It Love," first recorded by Kim Carnes and which later became a hit sung by Dolly Parton. In 1986 it was named BMI Country Song of the Year. Another hit written by Pitchford with Loggins and Steve Perry of Journey is "Don't Fight It," which garnered a Grammy nomination for Loggins and Perry in the Best Pop Vocal Duo category.

Videos from Footloose were aired on the fledgling MTV before the film opened, Kevin Bacon became an instant star, and moviegoers flocked to see the film.

Pitchford entered the world of children's literature with his The Big One-Oh, which was described as "thoroughly charming and original" by a reviewer for Children's Bookwatch. Charley Maplewood is about to turn ten, and a card from his absent father who asks him how he plans to spend the day prompts him to think about a party. Charley makes a list of the steps he needs to take, but in noting that he should invite friends, it occurs to him that he has none. Charley, who is a fan of monsters, chooses a theme that revolves around horror, which the other kids at school think is a great idea. He creates an invitation list and then enlists the help of Garry, the man next door who once worked in special effects and who fashions body parts from latex in his garage. The result is a party that is clearly a success and which results in Charley beginning to develop some real friendships. Strong supporting characters include Charley's mother and his sister, who works at a fast-food restaurant.

A Publishers Weekly contributor felt that some of the children who attend Charley's party seem to speak in voices that are older than those of ten-year-olds, but added: "Overall, however, this is entertaining fare." "For those who want to be grossed out and especially for reluctant readers, this succeeds brilliantly," concluded a Kirkus Reviews contributor. School Library Journal contributor Melissa Christy Buron praised Pitchford's development of Charley's character and wrote that in addition to this story being funny, "it's also poignant as Charley's loneliness and cluelessness about how to make a friend are clearly evident."



Billboard, February 11, 1984, Paul Grein, "Footloose Forges New Movie-Music Tie," p. 82.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2007, Karen Coats, review of The Big One-Oh, p. 435.

Children's Bookwatch, June, 2007, review of The Big One-Oh.

Entertainment Weekly, November 6, 1998, Jess Cagle, review of Footloose (stage adaptation), p. 71.

Interview, April, 1982, Joan Quinn, "Dean Pitchford," p. 74.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2007, review of The Big One-Oh, p. 79.

Publishers Weekly, March 12, 2007, review of The Big One-Oh, p. 58.

School Library Journal, March, 2007, Melissa Christy Buron, review of The Big One-Oh, p. 217.

Time, February 20, 1984, Richard Corliss, review of Footloose (stage adaptation), p. 82.

Variety, August 10, 1992, review of The Washing Machine Man, p. 59; October 26, 1998, review of Footloose, p. 134.


Big One-Oh Web site,http://www.thebigoneoh.com (December 27, 2007).

Box Office Mojo,http://www.boxofficemojo.com/ (December 12, 2004), Scott Holleran, "Music Man: An Interview with Footloose writer Dean Pitchford."

Dean Pitchford Home Page,http://www.deanpitchford.com (December 27, 2007).