Allee Willis, Writer of Friends Theme Song Dies at 72

Allee Willis, Emmy-nominated and Grammy-winning songwriter behind the song that became the iconic theme song for NBC's Friends, "I'll Be There for You" by The Rembrandts, as well as the Earth, Wind & Fire classic "Boogie Wonderland," died on December 24, Christmas Eve. According to Deadline, Willis' passing was announced by her long-term partner Prudence Fenton in an Instagram prost.

"Rest In Boogie Wonderland Nov 10, 1947-December 24, 2019," the post read. It accompanied a photo of Willis standing in front of a Motown landmark. You can check the post out below.

In addition to "I'll Be There for You" which earned Willis an Emmy nomination, and "Boogie Wonderland," Willis also co-wrote Beverly Hills Cop soundtrack and the Broadway musical The Color Purple. Both of those projects earned Willis a Grammy award. Over the course of her career, Willis' compositions sold over 60 million records.

Willis was a Detroit native who moved to New York in 1969 after graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a journalism degree. She worked as a copywriter at Columbia and Epic records before she became a songwriter in 1972, with Bonnie Raitt becoming the first artist to cover her songs.

In addition to her work in music, Willis was also a performer and a visual and multimedia artist. In 2009, she started The Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch website. She also spent some of her career in art direction, set design, and animation. Her Allee Willis Presents Bubbles & Cheesecake music video collaboration with singer-songwriter Holly Palmer won Webby and W3 awards.

Willis was also active in the area of protecting artist rights in cyberspace, appearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts and Intellectual Property in 1997. Her appearance at that time represented three million BMI songwriters. Willis was also known for hosting wild and elaborate parties, somethings he spoke about with the New York Times last year.


"I always had a music career, an art career, set designer, film, and video, technology," Willis said. "The parties really became the only place I could combine everything."

Willis is, in addition to Fenton, survived by her brother Kent and sister Marlen Frost.