Joseph Brooks, born Joseph Kaplan (March 11, 1938 – May 22, 2011), was an American composer, director, producer, and screenwriter. He was a prolific writer of advertising jingles and wrote the hit songs "My Ship Is Comin' In", "If Ever I See You Again", and "You Light Up My Life", the latter for the hit film of the same name that he also wrote, directed, and produced. In his later years he became the subject of an investigation after being accused of a series of casting-couch rapes. He was indicted in 2009, but committed suicide on May 22, 2011, before his trial.
Joseph Brooks in 1978 as he appeared in
If Ever I See You Again
March 11, 1938
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
|Died||May 22, 2011 (aged 73)|
Upper East Side, New York City, U.S.
|Cause of death||Suicide by asphyxia|
|Occupation(s)||Composer, director, producer, screenwriter, musician|
Brooks was born Joseph Kaplan on March 11, 1938 in Manhattan, and grew up in Manhattan and Lawrence, Long Island, New York. In later interviews, he claimed to have started playing piano at age 3 and writing plays at age 5, following his parents' divorce. As a child, he also developed a severe lifelong stutter that, according to his production partner Robert K. Lifton, would disappear when Brooks sang or acted. He later attended five different colleges, including Juilliard, but did not graduate from any.
In the late 1950s, Brooks pursued a career as a singer-songwriter, adopting the name "Joey Brooks" (later changed to "Joe Brooks" or "Joseph Brooks") He released several records on the Canadian-American label as "Joey Brooks", and on Decca as "Joey Brooks and the Baroque Folk". When his singing career failed, he drifted into advertising and occasional songwriting work, although he sporadically released several more records throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
In the 1960s, Brooks composed advertising jingles for clients including Pepsi ("You've Got a Lot to Live") and Maxwell House ("Good to the Last Drop Feeling"). He received numerous Clio Awards for his work, as well as a People's Choice Award. Credited as "Joey Brooks", he also wrote the song "My Ship Is Comin' In", a Top Ten UK hit in 1966 for the Walker Brothers.
In the 1970s, Brooks, who had become wealthy from his advertising work (at one point claiming to have 150 commercials on the air), began composing for films. He wrote music for the American release of The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970), Marjoe (1972), and The Lords of Flatbush (1974) in which he was also an investor. He wrote "Blue Balloon (The Hourglass Song)" which was sung by Robby Benson as the theme song for the film Jeremy (1973), and further claimed to have written, cast and directed most of Jeremy, although Arthur Barron was the sole writer and director of record. Brooks' claim was recognized by New York Times film critic Roger Greenspun, who wrote that "it seems fair to suggest that, in whatever proportion, both men were involved in the authorship of the film."
Brooks next developed his own film project, You Light Up My Life, which he wrote, produced, directed and scored on a budget of approximately $1 million. The romantic drama about an aspiring singer, starring Didi Conn, became a box office success despite poor reviews. The title song Brooks composed for the film was an even bigger success; a cover version by Debby Boone reached #1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart and held the top position for 10 consecutive weeks, at that time the longest Number One reign in the chart's history. With sales of over five million copies, the song ultimately became the biggest hit of the 1970s, and earned Brooks a Grammy Award for Song of the Year, an Academy Award for Best Original Song, a Golden Globe Award and an American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) award.
Brooks attempted to follow up his success with a similar romantic drama, If Ever I See You Again (1978), for which Brooks not only co-wrote, produced, directed and scored, but also played the leading role (a successful composer of TV commercial jingles, much like himself in real life), despite having no significant prior acting experience. Although the title song became a moderate hit for Roberta Flack, peaking at #24 on the Hot 100 chart, the movie received sharply negative reviews and was a box-office bomb. Brooks was subsequently involved in several other films, including directing and scoring Invitation to the Wedding (1983) in which Ralph Richardson and John Gielgud appeared, and co-producing Eddie and the Cruisers (1983) (which Brooks did not score). In the late 1990s, he and his then-wife Christina Bone began developing a film entitled Sara's Life Before It Became a Movie, which was never released.
Brooks also worked on stage productions, composing and writing for the 1989 West End musical adaptation of Metropolis and writing, directing and producing the Broadway musical In My Life (2005), a love story about a female Village Voice personals editor with obsessive-compulsive disorder and a musician with Tourette's syndrome who are brought together by a jingle-singing God. Robert Simonson later wrote in Brooks' Playbill obituary that In My Life was "generally regarded as one of the strangest shows ever to have graced a Broadway stage." When In My Life was panned by critics including Ben Brantley of The New York Times, who called it "jaw-dropping moments of whimsy run amok", Brooks spent $1.5 million on ads saying that the critics were wrong.
In June 2009, Brooks was arrested on charges of raping or sexually assaulting eleven women lured to his East Side apartment from 2005 to 2008. His female assistant, Shawni Lucier, was charged with helping him. "She picked the victims, set up travel arrangements and reassured them,” said Lisa Friel, chief of the district attorney's sex crimes unit. At times, she said, Ms. Lucier also reassured mothers worried about sending their daughters alone to New York on flights paid for by Mr. Brooks. And, she said, Ms. Lucier was sometimes present in the apartment when the women arrived, but left before the assaults. At least four of the women accused him of sexual assault. He allegedly lured the women to his apartment to audition for movie roles. According to Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, the women responded to a notice that Brooks had posted on Craigslist seeking attractive women to star in movie roles, and flew to New York from Pacific Coast states or Florida, usually at Brooks' expense.
He was indicted on June 23, 2009. He was to be tried in the state Supreme Court for Manhattan (a trial-level court) on 91 counts of rape, sexual abuse, criminal sexual act, assault, and other charges. In December 2009, prosecutors indicated that they would ask the grand jury to consider adding even more charges, in part because "additional victims" had come forward. However, Brooks committed suicide on May 22, 2011, before he could be tried.
In 2008, Brooks suffered a stroke, which left him unable to play the piano and thus negatively affected his ability to compose. It was reported that he may have had a second stroke shortly before his death.
Brooks was married four times, but was single at the time of his death. A 1978 news article noted that he was married with 7-year-old twins, a boy and a girl. In the late 1970s, Brooks married Susan Paul, an English model and actress who appeared in the films All That Jazz (1979) and Invitation to the Wedding (1983). They had two children during the 1980s and were divorced in the early 1990s. Brooks later married Christina Bone.
In 1975, Brooks had a relationship with actress Cindy Williams, who was, at the time, starring in the movie, The First Nudie Musical, written and co-directed by her friend Bruce Kimmel - Brooks became an investor in the film. Brooks originally planned for her to star in You Light Up My Life, but he and Williams were already having relationship issues and he asked Kimmel to direct You Light Up My Life, stating he couldn't control Williams. He broke up with Williams before the film was made, and the role went to Didi Conn. In 2009, Brooks sued a 22-year-old ex-fiancée, claiming that he had spent $2 million on her before learning she was already married.
Brooks had four children: Amanda (born 1981) and Nicholas (born 1986) (both from his marriage to Susan Paul), Gabrielle, and Jeffrey. Brooks' daughter Amanda has said that Brooks abused her as a child and that she and Nicholas had a difficult relationship with their father. At the time of Brooks' death, Nicholas, a former student at the University of Colorado, was awaiting trial in New York City, charged with the murder of his girlfriend, swimwear designer Sylvie Cachay, in a Soho House hotel room on December 9, 2010. On July 11, 2013, Nicholas was convicted of Cachay's murder. He was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in September of that year.
Police reported that on May 22, 2011, Brooks was found dead in his Upper East Side condominium apartment. Brooks was found with a plastic bag over his head near a hose attached to a helium tank, with a suicide note found nearby. According to a law enforcement source, in the note Brooks claimed he would be exonerated of the charges pending against him, but complained about his failing health and a woman who he claimed had abused him and taken his money.
Shortly before Brooks' death, a former friend had also filed suit to seize his condominium to pay off an outstanding $3.2 million debt, alleging that Brooks had put up his longtime home as collateral for a $2.4 million loan in 2006.
Events in the year 2011 in the United States.If Ever I See You Again
"If Ever I See You Again" is the title of a 1978 hit single by Roberta Flack. The song was composed by Joseph "Joe" Brooks and served as the title song for the eponymous 1978 film If Ever I See You Again, which Brooks directed and also starred in with Shelley Hack as his leading lady. Male vocalist Jamie Carr sang the theme song on the film's soundtrack.
Brooks' directorial debut, You Light Up My Life, had become successful largely on the strength of its title song, which as recorded by Debby Boone had spent ten weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1977. With Brooks producing, Debby Boone had subsequently recorded the If Ever I See You Again title song plus four other songs heard in the film: "California", "Come Share My Love", "It Was Such a Good Day" and "When It's Over", at the Hollywood recording studio the Record Plant in January 1978, with the track "California" being issued as Boone's follow-up single to "You Light Up My Life" in February 1978 to reach #50 on the Hot 100. Boone's version of the If Ever I See You Again title song, plus the four other songs from the film that she'd recorded, would be included on her July 1978 album release Midstream. Despite Boone's success with the theme song from You Light Up My Life, Brooks was hoping to place the If Ever I See You Again theme song plus other songs from the film with an established artist. According to his partner Robert K. Lifton, Brooks offered the If Ever I See You Again numbers to Arista Records president Clive Davis for Barry Manilow to record only to renege after hearing the existing tracks intended for Manilow's upcoming album, which Brooks felt were sub-par and would sink his own compositions (in fact Manilow's 1978 album release Even Now would be a triple platinum seller).Brooks then approached Atlantic Records president Jerry Greenberg with the intent of having the If Ever I See You Again theme song and other songs from the film recorded by Roberta Flack (Flack has stated that she had been sent the demo for "You Light Up My Life" but had not had a chance to listen to it before the Debby Boone recording was made). Flack would eventually describe "If Ever I See You Again" as "a song I couldn't stand" that Greenberg insisted she record: (Roberta Flack quote:) "I had a very clever lawyer who made a huge money deal for [my recording] that song": Flack recorded "If Ever I See You Again" at A&R Recording Studios in New York City in a session produced by Brooks which also yielded Flack's versions of "Come Share My Love" and "When It's Over". With a track from Flack's 1977 Blue Lights in the Basement album: "I'd Like To Be Baby To You", as B-side, "If Ever I See You Again" was released as a single in 21 April 1978 - a month before the film's premiere - to debut the Billboard Hot 100 dated 20 May 1978 at #87 (the same chart ranked the Blue Lights in the Basement single: the Donny Hathaway duet "The Closer I Get to You" at its #2 peak for a second and final week).
With the film If Ever I See You Again quickly proving a massive flop, Flack's single was left to fare on its own merit, and did in July 1978 spend three weeks at No. 1 on the Easy Listening chart with an eventual ranking as the #8 Easy Listening hit for the year: however, while reaching the Top 40 on both the Pop-oriented Hot 100 and the R&B chart, "If Ever I See You Again" was not on either chart afforded the impact which had previously been customary for Flack's lead singles, the Hot 100 peak for "If Ever I See You Again" being #24 with its R&B peak being #37. Flack's August 1978 self titled album release included her version of "If Ever I See You Again" plus the two other tracks cut with Joe Brooks at A&R Studios: "Come Share My Love" and "When It's Over", the two latter tracks being issued on a single in September 1978 with the A-side "When It's Over" reaching #82 on the R&B chart.
From 1979 Flack would tend to rank on the R&B chart as opposed to the Hot 100, her only solo Hot 100 entry subsequent to "If Ever I See You Again" being another movie theme song: "Making Love", which peaked at #13 in 1982. However Flack did reach the Top 20 of the Hot 100 with two duets: "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love" with Peabo Bryson (#16/ 1983) and "Set the Night to Music" with Maxi Priest (#6/ 1991).Joseph Brooks
Joseph or Joe Brooks may refer to:
Joe Brooks (actor) (1924–2007), American actor
Joe Brooks (fly fisherman) (1901–1972), American fisherman and writer about the sport
Joe Brooks (footballer) (fl. 1902–1915), English association football player
Joe Brooks (researcher) (born 1960), American director of the GTRI Electronic Systems Laboratory
Joe Brooks (singer) (born 1987), British singer-songwriter
Joseph Brooks (politician) (1812–1877), Arkansas politician
Joseph Brooks (cricketer) (1870–1937), English cricketer
Joseph Brooks (songwriter) (1938–2011), American composer, director, producer and screenwriter
Joseph W. Brooks (active 1909–1921), American football player and coach
Joseph E. Brooks (born 1942), American politician, journalist and social service agency director
Joe Brooks, co-producer and musician on 2000 album The Color of SilenceMy Ship Is Comin' In
"My Ship Is Comin' In" is a song written by Joey Brooks which was first a song for the American soul singer Jimmy Radcliffe in 1965 and was later recorded and released by the American pop group The Walker Brothers as their fourth single that same year. Outside the US and Canada, the song's title was "My Ship Is Coming In". The accompaniment was directed by Ivor Raymonde. The song appeared as the opening track on the group's debut US studio album Introducing the Walker Brothers.
"My Ship Is Coming In" was a major hit in Britain, spending twelve weeks on the UK Singles Chart and peaking at #3 in January 1966 and their second of three hits in the US peaking at #63 on the Billboard Hot 100. "You're All Around Me" was included as the b-side and is the second song to have a writing credit from Scott Walker (as Scott Engel), the song written with singer-songwriter Lesley Duncan was also featured on the group's début album Take It Easy with The Walker Brothers.You Light Up My Life (song)
"You Light Up My Life" is a ballad written by Joseph "Joe" Brooks, and originally recorded by Kasey Cisyk for the soundtrack album to the 1977 film of the same name. The song was lip synced in the film by its lead actress, Didi Conn. The best-known version of the song is a cover by Debby Boone, the daughter of singer Pat Boone. It held the #1 position on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for ten consecutive weeks in 1977, setting a new record for that time. She topped Record World magazine's Top 100 Singles Chart for a record of 13 weeks.You Light Up My Life (soundtrack)
You Light Up My Life: Original Soundtrack is the soundtrack album to the 1977 film of the same name starring Didi Conn and Joe Silver. The soundtrack was composed, arranged and produced by Joseph "Joe" Brooks and released in October 1977 by Arista Records.
Originally released on LP, cassette and 8-track tape, the soundtrack album peaked at #17 on the Billboard 200 chart in November 1977, was certified Gold by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) and also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special.The title song "You Light Up My Life", performed by Kvitka Cisyk for the film's soundtrack and later recorded by Debby Boone, received the Academy Award for Best Original Song and a Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song as well as the Grammy Award for Song of the Year. In the film, the song was lip synched by actress Didi Conn.
Cisyk's original soundtrack recording of "You Light Up My Life" was included on the soundtrack album which was rush-released by Arista Records after Boone included her version on her first solo album (also entitled You Light Up My Life) and within less than three weeks, the soundtrack album was certified Gold by the RIAA, making it one of the fastest-breaking records in the label's history at that time.
Boone's single reached #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for a then record-setting 10 consecutive weeks while Cisyk's version of the song was released simultaneously as a single to bolster sales of the soundtrack album. Cisyk's single was credited to "Original Cast", not to Cisyk herself, and although Brooks is listed on the A-side, the "Original Cast" B-side charted on the Billboard Hot 100 and only reached #80. Brooks also released an instrumental version of the song from the soundtrack as a promotional single, but that version failed to chart.Following the huge success of Boone's hit version of the song (which was not included on the soundtrack album) and with sales of over five million copies of the single, "You Light Up My Life" ultimately became the biggest hit of the 1970s.
Awards for Joseph Brooks