It was estimated at one time that the music of prolific composer/producer Charles Fox was heard by 300 million people each week as the composer, along with frequent collaborator, lyricist Norman Gimbel, of the themes of such '70s hit TV shows as Happy Days, "Our Dreams Come True" from Laverne and Shirley, Angie, The Love Boat, Wonder Woman, Love American Style, and Paper Chase. Fox's tunes were heard in millions of living rooms weekly. His hit songs are Roberta Flack's "Killing Me Softly," 1978 Academy Award nominee "Ready to Take a Chance Again" sung by Barry Manilow, Pratt and McClain's cover of "Happy Days," and Jim Croce's "I Got a Name."
His movie credits are also impressive: The Other Side of the Mountain (includes the 1975 Academy Award nominee "Richard's Window"), Foul Play, Goodbye Columbus, One on One, Two Minute Warning, Victory at Entebbe, Pufnstuf, and Barbarella.
With his interest in music supported by his mandolin-playing father, Fox began taking piano lessons at age seven. Later he attended New York's Music and Art High School. At 18, he went to France to study with Nadia Boulanger, his greatest influence musically and humanistically. In 1961, Fox returned to New York where he continued his classical studies and began playing Latin music around the city and in the Catskill Mountains. He played around with the idea of joining a kibbutz in Israel, spending his time composing noncommercial music, but then set his sights on film composing.
A friend introduced Fox to Skitch Henderson, a bandleader on The Tonight Show. Fox began composing incidental music for the show and arranging and performing in The Tonight Show band. Around the same time, he began scoring short subjects, USIA, films and product films.
Fox began to get job after job. His first TV theme was Wild World of Sports, first TV background score was Johnny Belinda, and first movie score was The Incident. Bob Crewe, whom Fox had worked with on a jazz/rock album, asked him to score a major motion picture for Paramount. The film, Barbarella starring Jane Fonda, was a big success, and in 1970 Fox made the trek west to Los Angeles. Welcomed in Hollywood, Fox scored countless television (The Bugaloos ) and movie scores (Short Circuit II). ~ Ed Hogan