22 May 2011
Joseph Brooks, the Hollywood composer of "You Light Up My Life" and the Broadway musical In My Life, committed suicide in his Upper East Side apartment, according to published reports. He had been awaiting trial on multiple charges of rape.
According to the Daily News, Brooks, 73, was found dead with a plastic dry cleaning bag over his head and a towel wrapped around his head and neck near a hose attached to a tank of helium gas. The body was discovered at 12:30 PM May 22 in his home at Lexington Avenue and Eat 63rd St. by a friend expecting to have lunch with him.
Since bringing his unusual show In My Life to Broadway in 2005, Mr. Brooks' life rapidly unraveled. In 2009, he was arrested on charges of raping 11 young actresses, luring them to his apartment with the promise of movie roles. Last year, his son, Nicholas Brooks, 25, was charged with strangling his girlfriend, swimsuit designer Sylvie Cachay.
Mr. Brooks wrote the song "You Light Up My Life," which was made a No. 1 hit by Debby Boone and won the Oscar for Best Song for 1977. He was also a successful writer of commercial jingles.
The composer wrote, directed and produced In My Life, which is generally regarded as one of the strangest shows ever to have graced a Broadway stage. A love story between a young woman journalist who has obsessive-compulsive disorder and singer-songwriter with Tourette syndrome, its characters also included a slovenly, jingle-loving God who wears a baseball hat, and a transvestite angel who has a dance number with a skeleton. The finale featured a giant lemon.