Famed Jewish Songwriter Hal David, Dead at 91

Famed American Jewish lyricist Hal David, winner of every major award in the music industry, has died at age 91.

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Hana Levi Julian,

Hal David, October 2011
Hal David, October 2011

Famed American Jewish lyricist Hal David, winner of every major award in the music industry, has died at age 91.

Born in Manhattan on May 25, 1921, Hal David was the son of Austrian-Jewish immigrants, Gedalier David, a deli owner, and his wife Lena.

David, who grew up in Brooklyn, was best known for his collaboration with partner Burt Bacharach, and his association with vocalist Dionne Warwick. But he also worked together with Willie Nelson, Julio Iglesias, Albert Hammond, Sarah Vaughan, Sherman Edwards, and with Paul Hampton, among others.

His first wife, Anne, passed away in 1987. He remarried, and is survived by his second wife, Eunice, as well as his sons Jim and Craig, and three grandchildren. He died early Saturday morning due to a stroke, at age 91, after a long and illustrious career filled with Oscars, Grammys, and Academy Awards, not to mention numerous others.

In addition to his chairmanship of the Songwriter's Hall of Fame, and his membership in the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, David received the B'nai B'rith Creative Achievement Award, the NARM Presidential Award and more. He was also the founder of the Los Angeles Music Center, and a member of the Board of Governors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, as well as a member of the board of directors of ASCAP.

In 2011, he received a star on the famed Hollywood Walk of Fame, and this year, his partnership with Bacharach received the prestigious Gershwin Prize – the first collaborative team to be so honored.

Lincoln College bestowed a Doctor of Music degree on Mr. David for his major contribution to American music, and he also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters Degree from Claremont Graduate University. In October of 2007 he received an Honorary Degree from the Five Towns College in Long Island, and in addition, they named their new Music Library building "The Hal David Music Library."

Songs for which Hal David wrote lyrics have included What the World Needs Now is Love, I Say a Little Prayer, There's Always Something There to Remind Me, Alfie, Casino Royale, A House is Not A Home, The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, Moonraker, and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, in addition to songs in the Academy Award-winning movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and the Tony Award-nominated Broadway show Promises, Promises, among myriad others.