Allee Willis has written a number of successful songs that have become part of the musical fund of pop music. Allee has written or co-written songs like “September” by Earth Wind & Fire, the theme for the sitcom Friends entitled “I’ll Be there for You”, the Broadway musical “The Color Purple” and “Neutron Dance“, to name but a few. She has also worked intensively with technology, creating interactive social media experiences on the Internet as early as 1991. As an artist and set designer, Allee has worked with many other performers over the years to create art in many forms that express her views, emotions and gratitude.
Willis was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where she attended Mumford High School. Her parents were Jewish. Her father, Nathan, was a junk dealer. Her mother, Rose, an elementary school teacher, died suddenly when Willis was a teenager. Willis attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied journalism. She was a member of a fraternity and later became an activist, “marching and demonstrating” in the 1960s. After college she moved to New York City in 1969 and worked as a secretary at Columbia Records as a lyricist, wrote liner notes and promotional material before turning to songwriting and performance.
Willis was known for hosting spectacular parties at her home just outside Hollywood. She said, “I’ve always had a career in music, art, set design, film and video, technology. The parties really became the only place where I could combine everything.” Willis died in Los Angeles on December 24, 2019, aged 72. The cause of death was cardiac arrest.