Al Kasha Dead: Oscar-Winning Songwriter of ‘The Morning After’ Wast 83
Al Kasha, the songwriter who won Academy Awards in the 1970s for co-writing hit ballads for “The Poseidon Adventure” and “The Towering Inferno,” died Monday in Los Angeles. He was 83. No cause of death was immediately offered.
As part of a songwriting team with Joel Hirschhorn, Kasha received two Tony nominations, four Golden Globe nods and a People’s Choice award, plus a pair of additional Oscar nominations in addition to their two wins.
“Write in Power,” tweeted Diane Warren, who succeeded Kasha as movie-theme royalty. “A great songwriter and lovely man,” she said, adding a broken-heart emoji.
“The Morning After,” from 1973’s “The Poseidon Adventure,” and “We May Never Love Like This Again,” from 1975’s “The Towering Inferno,” became a part of pop culture before scoring with the Academy, almost inventing a subgenre of sensitive ballads with the slightest of tragic understones that kept them from being completely at odds with the Irwin Allen disaster movies they turned up in. (Kasha is pictured above, right, at the 1975 Oscars ceremony with Hirschhorn, left, and presenter Gene Kelly, center.)
The duo’s other two Oscar nods came for the 1977 Walt Disney film “Pete’s Dragon,” which picked up nominations for both its score and its song (“Candle On The Water,” sung by Helen Reddy).
Their Tony nominations rewarded their work on the Broadway musicals “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” and “Copperfield.”
Kasha wrote three books: “If They Ask, You Can Write A Song,” ” Notes On Broadway” and an autobiography, “Reaching The Morning After.” He was said to have been at work on a fourth, “The Ultimate Book on Songwriting.”
The songwriter was born in New York City on January 22, 1937. Following work as a producer at Columbia Records in his early, he went on to become a Brill Building denizen in 1959, crafting material for some of the most renowned artists in pop in the 1960s. Kasha had a long string of songs recorded by Jackie Wilson, including “I’m Coming on Back To You,” “My Empty Arms,” “Forever And A Day,” “Each Night I Dream Of You,” “Lonely Life” and “Sing And Tell The Blues So Long.” Others who recorded his material included Aretha Franklin (“Operation Heartbreak” and “Rock-a-Bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody”), Charles Aznavour (“Dance In The Old Fashioned Way”), Bobby Darin (“Irresistible You”) and, in the 1980s, Donna Summer (“I’m A Fire”).
In later decades, he became known for his faith-based efforts, including scoring “China Cry,” a feature film produced by the Trinity Broadcasting Network.
In recent years he wrote two musicals, “The Real Love” and “Loving The Silent Tears,” that he created with Supreme Master Ching Hai., a Vietnamese poet.
Kasha is survived by his wife, Ceil Kasha, a daughter, Dana Kasha-Cohen, her husband, Randy Cohen, and Kasha’s grandson, Dean Cohen.