Family & Companions
She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987
An award-winning songwriter with a history of hits stretching from the mid-1960s until the early 21st century, Carole Bayer Sager wrote or co-wrote such enduring songs as "Don't Cry Out Loud," "Nobody Does It Better," "Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do)" and countless other polished, emotionally driven pop and adult contemporary songs. A former staff writer for Don Kirshner's Screen Gems publishing company, she scored her first hit, the Mindbenders' "A Groovy Kind of Love," while still a teenager, before forming successful partnerships with such songwriters and composers as Peter Allen, Melissa Manchester and Marvin Hamlisch. With her second husband, Burt Bacharach, Sager won the Oscar for "Arthur's Theme" and co-wrote "That's What Friends Are For," an enormously profitable charity single for AIDS research. Sager continued to generate award-nominated hits well into the 21st century while maintaining a second career as a philanthropist for medical and educational charities. Her vast and celebrated body of work made Carole Bayer Sager one of the most notable pop composers of the 20th and 21st centuries.
Born Carole Bayer on March 8, 1947 in New York City, she began writing songs in the early 1960s while attending the Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts. Her work came to the attention of producer-publisher Don Kirshner, who signed her to his Screen Gems publishing company. In 1965, she penned "A Groovy Kind of Love" with fellow teenaged songwriter Toni Wine; a version by the British Invasion group the Mindbenders provided her with her first international Top 5 hit. Sager began collaborating with Neil Sedaka in the late 1960s, generating modest hits for bubblegum acts like Bobby Sherman ("Cold Girl") and The Monkees ("When Love Comes Knockin,'" "The Girl I Left Behind Me") as well as more established performers like Frankie Valli ("Make the Music Play").
In 1970, she married producer Richard Sager, and wrote the lyrics for the musical "Georgy," based on the novel and film "Georgy Girl" (1966), which closed after just four performances on Broadway. Sager soon returned to pop songwriting, enjoying fruitful collaborations with Australian singer-songwriter Peter Allen, as well as American composer-performer Melissa Manchester, who, as a performer would take two of their collaborations - 1975's "Midnight Blue" and 1978's monster hit "Don't Cry Out Loud" - onto the Top 10 singles chart. Sager launched her own recording career in 1977 with a self-titled album that included "You're Moving Out Today," which she co-wrote with Bette Midler and Bruce Roberts. The single reached No. 6 on the U.K. charts, the same year Leo Sayer scored his No. 1 single "When I Need You," a collaboration between Sayer and singer-songwriter Albert Hammond of "It Never Rains in Southern California" fame.
After divorcing her husband in 1978, Sager began a personal and professional relationship with Marvin Hamlisch, which produced not only Carly Simon's Oscar-nominated "Nobody Does it Better" (1977), from the James Bond feature "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977), but also the Tony-nominated, semi-autobiographical musical "They're Playing Our Song" (1978), with music and lyrics by Hamlisch and Sager, respectively. That same year, Sager released her sophomore solo album, .Too, but it was largely overshadowed by the Melissa Manchester single "Through the Eyes of Love," which earned Sager a second Oscar nomination as the theme from "Ice Castles" (1978). In 1980, Sager began writing with Burt Bacharach, which produced the smash 1981 hit "Arthur's Theme (The Best That You Can Do)," a collaboration with singer Christopher Cross and Peter Allen that resonated in the Dudley Moore classic comedy "Arthur" (1981). It went on to garner the Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Song in 1982. Bacharach also co-wrote the Top 40 hit "Stronger Than Before," from Sager's final solo album, Sometimes Late at Night (1981), as well as Neil Diamond's last Top 5 single, "Heartlight" (1982). That same year, Bacharach became her second husband.
In 1982, Sager and Bacharach penned the ballad "That's What Friends Are For," which was originally sung by Rod Stewart for the soundtrack to Ron Howard's comedy "Night Shift." Three years later, they revived the song as a charity single benefiting the American Foundation for AIDS Research; the Grammy-winning 1985 version, which featured Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick and Gladys Knight, shot to No. 1 on the Billboard charts and helped to raise over $1 million for the organization. She scored a second No. 1 single the following year with "On My Own," a duet with Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald. In 1988, her first hit single, "A Groovy Kind of Love," returned to the chart via a cover by Phil Collins for the "Buster" (1988) soundtrack that also reached No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart.
To the surprise of many who considered them the ultimate married songwriting team, Sager and Bacharach divorced shortly after penning several tracks for Barbra Streisand's "Till I Loved You" (1991). She then began working with a rotating circuit of co-writers, including James Ingram, Narada Michael Walden and Marc Shaiman, among others. Sager scored Oscar and Golden Globe nominations with songs from "Beethoven's 2nd" (1993) and "Junior" (1993). On a personal front, she married her third husband, former Warner Bros. and Los Angeles Dodgers chairman Robert Daly, in 1996.
In 1998, she earned her sixth Oscar nomination for "The Prayer," a duet between Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli for the animated film "Quest for Camelot" (1998). Her roster of songwriting partners continued to diversify during this period, which saw frequent collaborations with David Foster, as well as reunions with Bruce Roberts and Albert Hammond and new team-ups with the likes of Brian Wilson, Carole King and even Clint Eastwood for the "True Crime" (1999) soundtrack. In 2001, she penned "You Are My Life" for Michael Jackson's Invincible album.
The year 2003 saw some of Sager's collaborations with Peter Allen form the music for "The Boy from Oz," a Tony-winning stage musical based on the late singer's life, starring Hugh Jackman. Many of her past catalog of hit songs also found a second life on soundtracks in the new millennium, including "Intolerable Cruelty" (2003), "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (2003) and "Lost in Translation" (2004). Her newer material also continued to mine hits, most notably Australian singer Anthony Callea's cover of "The Prayer," which stayed at the top of the country singles chart there for over a month, eventually netting the record for highest-charting and fastest-selling single in Australian music history. When not penning Billboard gold, Sager devoted a great deal of her energy into philanthropic causes during this period, including DonorChoose.org, a non-profit organization that funded educational projects. She also became a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, as well as an artist with a host of celebrity patrons. In 2008, her second collaboration with Clint Eastwood on the song "Grace is Gone" from the feature film of the same name, received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Song.
By Paul Gaita
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Misc. Crew (Feature Film)
Music (TV Mini-Series)
Reportedly wrote first set of lyrics at age 12 (date approximate)
Composed lyrics for the pop hit "A Groovy Kind of Love"
Wrote lyrics for first Broadway musical "Georgy"
She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1987