Allee Willis is an American songwriter, artist, set designer, multimedia artist, writer and director.
In 1995 Willis was nominated for an Emmy for her #1 hit, “I'll Be There For You”, the theme from "Friends", one of the best selling television themes of all time. In 1985 she won a Grammy for Best Soundtrack for ‘Beverly Hills Cop’. Her songs have sold over 50,000,000 records, including “September” and “Boogie Wonderland” by Earth, Wind & Fire, “Neutron Dance” by the Pointer Sisters, “What Have I Done To Deserve This?” by Pet Shop Boys with Dusty Springfield, and “Lead Me On” by Maxine Nightengale. Willis has collaborated with hundreds of leading artists and composers from all fields of music, including Bob Dylan, James Brown, Herbie Hancock and Motown legend Lamont Dozier. She co-authored the Broadway musical version of “The Color Purple”, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning book by Alice Walker and film by Steven Spielberg, which opened on Broadway at the Broadway Theater December 1st 2006.
Willis grew up in Detroit. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Journalism. Upon graduation, she moved to New York to become a copywriter for Columbia and Epic Records, writing liner notes, print ads and radio commercials for all the female and Black acts, many of whom she went on to write songs for later. She recorded an album of the first ten songs she ever wrote, “Childstar”, on Epic Records and was discovered by Bonnie Raitt and Patti LaBelle when they started recording her songs in the late 70’s.
From 1986 to 1988 Willis had her own column in Details Magazine. It was in that magazine that she introduced her proudest musical find, the Del Rubio Triplets, 70 plus year old 'singing' sisters in mini skirts and go go boots who went on to appear in over 20 network shows and tour around the world.
Songs written by Allee Willis
Her house, built as the party house for MGM in 1937, has appeared in major art, architecture and entertainment magazines.
Her motorized artwork, sculpture and furniture have been featured in museums and galleries around the world.