‘You Light Up My Life’ songwriter Joseph Brooks found dead in apparent suicide

May 23, 2011

Academy Award-winning songwriter Joesph Brooks was found dead in his New York apartment of an apparent suicide. As Elizabeth Flock reported:

Joseph Brooks, the Academy Award-winning songwriter of the ballad “You Light Up My Life,” was found dead Sunday, an apparent suicide, in his Manhattan apartment.

Brooks was discovered slumped over on a couch in the den of his Upper East Side apartment by a friend with whom he planned to have lunch. His head was wrapped in a plastic bag, which was connected to a tube from a nearby helium tank.

He left a rambling, three-page suicide note behind.

Five months ago, his 24-year-old son was arrested and charged with strangling his fashion designer girlfriend to death in a a bathtub in a swanky hotel in New York. Father and son had little contact with one another in recent years.

In 2008, Brooks had suffered a stroke and his health had deteriorated ever since. He appeared gaunt and worn at recent trial dates.

Brooks’s Academy Award-winning “You Light My Life” was the title song in a 1977 film about a young singer with dreams of stardom. Listening to that song now is haunting:

The award winning songwriter was awaiting trial on charges of sexual assaulting over a dozen women. As the Associated Press explained:

The Academy Award-winning songwriter of “You Light Up My Life” was found dead of an apparent suicide while awaiting trial on charges of sexually assaulting more than a dozen women and just months after his son was accused of murdering a swimsuit designer.

The medical examiner will perform an autopsy to determine Brooks’ cause of death. A three-page suicide note included complaints about his health, police said.

Brooks suffered a stroke in 2008, and his lawyer had said the songwriter’s health was deteriorating during the court case. He appeared gaunt and shuffled slowly as he came to recent court dates.

Brooks was awaiting trial on allegations that he lured women to his apartment through an online ad offering auditions for a movie role, then sexually assaulted them after making them drink apparently drugged wine as part of an “acting exercise.” He pleaded not guilty in 2009, and his court date had not yet been set.

Brooks’ lawyer and Manhattan prosecutors had no immediate comment about Brooks’ death.

Brooks won the Academy Award for best original song for the 1977 Debby Boone ballad “You Light Up My Life” and directed a movie of the same name about a comedian who had a one-night stand with a director. Brooks also won a Grammy for the song.

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