Songwriter-director-screenwriter Joseph Brooks, who penned the ubiquitous 1977 hit “You Light Up My Life,” was found dead in New York on Sunday, May 22, an apparent suicide. He was 73.
Brooks was free on bail after being charged in 2009 with a series of rape and sexual assault charges. He had allegedly attacked 13 aspiring actresses after luring them to his apartment with the promise of an audition.
Brooks’ body was discovered in his Manhattan apartment by a friend. A plastic bag tied around his head was attached by a hose to a helium tank. Police told the Associated Press that a suicide note was found but did not reveal its contents.
Brooks was best known for his 1977 directorial debut “You Light Up My Life,” which starred Didi Conn as a starry-eyed young actress. Conn performed the titular song in the feature, but it became an enormous pop smash in the hands of Debby Boone, daughter of ’50s pop star Pat Boone.
Boone’s single was No. 1 on the U.S. singles chart for 10 weeks — the longest run of the decade. Brooks’ composition received a Grammy as song of the year and an Oscar and Golden Globe as best original song.
His other features included “If Ever I See You Again,” a 1978 feature in which he also co-starred, and “Invitation to the Wedding” (1983).
Brooks later wrote a musical adaptation of Fritz Lang’s 1927 silent sci-fier “Metropolis” that enjoyed a 1989 London run and the 2005 Broadway flop “In My Life.”
Brooks’ son Nicholas is currently awaiting trial for the December 2010 murder of his girlfriend, swimsuit designer Sylvie Cachay.