Charles Fox was born and raised in New York City, graduated from the High School of Music and Art, and continued his formal musical education and composition studies with Nadia Boulanger in Paris. He studied jazz-piano with Lenny Tristano and electronic music with Vladimir Ussachevsky at Columbia University. He began his career playing the piano, composing and arranging for such salsa legends as Ray Barretto, Joe Quijano and Tito Puente, as well as writing theme music and arrangements for Skitch Henderson and the Tonight Show Orchestra.
Charles has composed the music for hundreds of songs. Most of them have been recorded for records, motion pictures and TV. Among the many legendary and diverse recording artists who have recorded his songs are Roberto Flack, Sarah Vaughn, Barry Manilow, Jim Croce, Fred Astaire, Luther Vandross, Johnny Cash, Lena Horne, George Shearing, The Boston Pops, Jack Jones, Tito Puente, Goldie Hawn, Carly Simon, Johnny Mathis, Shirley Bassey, Crystal Gayle, Lori Lieberman, Sergio Mendes, Maureen McGovern, Olivia Newton John, Lauryn Hill & The Fugees, and Ice T.
Among his works for theater, in collaboration with lyricist Norman Gimbel, are “The Eleventh”, starring Shelly Berman, and “A Midsummer Night's Dream” starring Cleavon Little and Mare Winningham. In collaboration with Hal David, he has composed the musicals “The Chosen” based on the book by Chaim Potok, and “The Turning Point” based on that 20th Century Fox film. Other song collaborators include Paul Williams, Bob Crewe, David Zippel, Sammy Cahn, Carly Simon, Carole Bayer Sager and Marilyn and Alan Bergman.
He has composed the musical scores for over 100 motion pictures and television films including “Barbarella”, “Nine to Five”, “Goodbye Columbus”, and “Foul Play” for which he received one of his two Academy Award nominations. The other was for the film “The Other Side of the Mountain”. Among his popular songs are "Ready to Take a Chance Again," "I Got a Name," and "Killing Me Softly with His Song," for which he received the Grammy Award for Best Song of the year. His TV shows and theme songs include “The Love Boat”, “Happy Days”, “Laverne and Shirley”, “Wonder Woman”, “The Paper Chase”, “Wide World of Sports”, “Monday Night Football” and “Love American Style, for which he received two Emmy Awards.
In addition to his popular works, Charles has composed music for the concert hall and ballet. His ballet “A Song for Dead Warriors” originally composed for the San Francisco Ballet and continuing in the repertoire of The Dance Theater of Harlem, was most recently performed in London at the Sadler Wells Theatre. His ballet, Zorro! premiered in San Francisco with the Smuin Ballet Company in 2003.
In August, 2009, Charles conducted the Poland National Opera Company Chorus and Orchestra in a performance of his Oratorio, “Lament and Prayer” at the Warsaw Opera House. The work was based on the words of Pope John Paul II. In August 2010, he conducted the world premiere of his “Fantasie, Homage a Chopin” which he was commissioned to compose by the Polish Government to honor the 200th birthday of Chopin. Charles conducted the performance featuring the great Polish pianist, Leszek Mozdzer and the great American clarinetist, Eddie Daniels along with the Akusa Orchestra in Gdansk, Poland for an audience of 22,000 people as part of a 30th year celebration of the Solidarity Movement. He has conducted symphony orchestras performing his music in Budapest, Prague, Poland, Caracas, London, Israel and Tokyo as well as in the US.
Charles was inducted into the Songwriter Hall of Fame in 2004. He was awarded Lifetime Achievement awards from the Society of Composers and Lyricists and BMI and is a Governor of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Since 2008, he has produced an annual concert benefitting the Fulfillment Fund, an organization that mentors and provides scholarships for students in economically challenged areas of Los Angeles. The concert, entitled “The Songs of Our Lives” has presented some of the legendary songwriters of the second half of the 20th century performing their own songs. Some of the great songwriters who have appeared in this concert are Burt Bacharach, Jeffy Barry, Carole Bayer-Sager, Alan Bergman, Stephen Bishop, Bob Crewe, David Crosby, Hal David, Mac Davis, Lamont Dozier, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, David Foster, Norman Gimbel, Leiber & Stoller, Kenny Loggins, Melissa Manchester, Sergio Mendes, Neil Sedaka, Richard Sherman, Paul Williams and Bill Withers. “The Songs Of Our Lives” is currently being developed into a TV series.