Award-winning lyricist best known for "Sway," "Killing Me Softly with His Song," "Canadian Sunset," and many other hits.
He attended Baruch College and Columbia University, but was largely self-taught in music. He had some success writing novelty songs early on, such as A Whale of a Tale for Walt Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea from 1954.
He won the Oscar for "It Goes Like It Goes" from the 1979 drama Norma Rae. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984.
He grew up in Brooklyn and was raised in a Jewish family.
His song "Killing Me Softly with His Song" became a hit for Roberta Flack.