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'Friends' Theme Song & 'Boogie Wonderland' Writer Allee Willis Dies On Christmas Eve

Friends Theme Song Writer Allee Willis Dies Christmas Eve
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Dec. 25 2019, Published 6:10 p.m. ET

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Allee Willis, who co-wrote "I'll Be There for You," which became the theme song for the TV show Friends, reportedly died on Christmas Eve.

The beloved Grammy-winning and Emmy-nominated songwriter, known for her wild clothing and hairstyle, passed away suddenly from cardiac arrest at age 72.

Prudence Fenton, the animator and producer who is described by a family friend as Willis' "partner and soulmate," was described as being "in total shock" over the songwriter's unexpected death, which occurred just after 6 p.m., according to Variety.

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Fenton paid tribute to Willis on Instagram, saying: "Rest In Boogie Wonderland."

"I'll Be There for You," originally penned for the Rembrandts, became one of the most famous television theme songs of all time as every week it introduced the smash sitcom starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matthew Perry, David Schwimmer and Matt Le Blanc.

But it's only part of Willis' pop legacy as her songs sold more than 60 million copies around the world.

She also co-wrote the Earth, Wind & Fire hits "September" and "Boogie Wonderland," and worked on he Pointer Sisters' "Neutron Dance," the Pet Shop Boys' and Dusty Springfield's "What Have I Done to Deserve This?," Maxine Nightingale's "Lead Me On," Patti LaBelle's "Stir It Up" and the theme from The Karate Kid called "You're the Best."

Willis has said fans of September, "tell me in some form how happy that song makes them every time they hear it."

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Taylor Swift did a cover version in 2018 of "September."

Always candid Willis said she was "thrilled" about that -- before describing Swift's song "as lethargic as a drunk turtle dozing under a sunflower after ingesting a bottle of Valium."

The Detroit native was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame last year.

Willis visited Motown studios in her hometown when she was young and later recalled, "You could hear through the walls, which is how I became a songwriter."

"I hear melodies constantly," she told the New York Times. "I always say: 'If you were to drop dead, I could write to the clunk of the body.'"

"I, very thankfully, have a few songs that will not go away but they're schlepping along 900 others," Willis said.

Willis had been working with rapper Big Sean at her home for the past few months before her unexpected death.

Willis won two Grammy Awards, one for the soundtrack for the film Beverly Hills Cop and another for the musical The Color Purple.

The songwriter wowed Hollywood with her odd hair style and the bright colored eccentric clothing she always wore.

She was a frequent talking head on the AXS TV show "The Top Ten Revealed."

Willis lived in a light-pink house in Los Angeles known as Willis Wonderland after her Earth, Wind & Fire hit.

She had numerous show biz friends who flocked to parties at her house, dubbed the "Allee Willis Museum of Kitsch" for her collections of candy-colored tchochkes.

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