Carol Bayer Sager
Photo Credit: Getty Images
Carole Bayer Sager's songbook spans almost 50 years and contains some of the world's most popular and successful songs. From the Grammy-winning "That's What Friends Are For", the Oscar-winning "Arthur's Theme", and the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe-winning "The Prayer", to "Don't Cry Out Loud" and "On My Own", Carole's songs have become pop standards. Honors for her work include an Academy Award, a Grammy Award, two Golden Globe Awards, a Tony Award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Songwriter's Hall of Fame induction, a Distinguished Alumni Award from the New York University Alumni Association and being honored by the L.A. Chapter of the Recording Academy. One of the most prolific and poignant writers in pop history, Carole's songs have been recorded by such artists as Barbra Streisand, Michael Jackson, Frank Sinatra, Whitney Houston, Ray Charles, Dolly Parton, Aretha Franklin, Bette Midler, Celine Dion, and Reba McEntire, among others.
Carole's ability to meet the ever-changing musical styles has given her the unique opportunity to collaborate with such diverse musical talents over the years as Bob Dylan (one of his rare collaborations), Melissa Manchester, Peter Allen, Marvin Hamlisch, Burt Bacharach, David Foster, Bruce Roberts, Neil Diamond, James Ingram, Carly Simon, Kenny "Babyface" Edmonds, Carole King, and Clint Eastwood, among others.
Carole also appeared as a celebrity judge on "American Idol", and her song "Don't Cry Out Loud" was sung on the season finale. This year in the final episode of "American Idol's 15 years, Jessica Sanchez sang a breathtaking version of "The Prayer", one of the highlights of the finale.
Carole had a ten-year collaboration and close friendship with Peter Allen. They wrote dozens of songs together including #1 "Don't Cry Out Loud", "I'd Rather Leave When I'm In Love", "Everything Old Is New Again", and "Quiet Please, There's A Lady On Stage", which were immortalized in the Broadway musical biography of Allen starring Hugh Jackman, "The Boy From Oz". Carole and Peter co-wrote nine of the musical's songs, and she was the "musical consultant" on the play, as well as a presenter at the Tony Awards when Hugh won "Best Performance by a Lead Actor in a Musical" for his role.
Carole returned to New York City to headline an engagement at Feinstein's at the Regency, her first live appearance in New York in 25 years, since she played the Bottom Line in 1978.
Born in New York City, Carole began her songwriting career while still a high school student. She wrote her first #1 hit, "A Groovy Kind of Love", for the English group The Mindbenders in 1966. Phil Collins re-recorded it, taking it #1 and the most performed radio hit of 1990.
In the 1970s, Carole began a long-lasting collaboration with Melissa Manchester, resulting in many classics including "Midnight Blue" and "Come In From The Rain."
Carole's self-titled 1977 debut solo album earned her a #1 hit in the United Kingdom, with "You're Moving Out Today", co-written with Bette Midler and Bruce Roberts. Carole subsequently released two additional albums.
Carole, Marvin Hamlisch, and Neil Simon co-wrote the Tony winning Broadway smash, "They're Playing Our Song", which was a semi-autobiographical romantic musical comedy about a wisecracking composer and an offbeat pop lyricist that ran for 1082 performances and received four Tony Award nominations. Carole received her first Academy Award nomination in 1979 with the theme from "The Spy Who Loved Me", "Nobody Does it Better", which was co-written with Marvin Hamlisch and recorded by Carly Simon. The song hit #1 and became one of the many Sager-Hamlisch hits, including Academy Award-nominated "Thru the Eyes of Love".
Carole won an Oscar in 1982 for "Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do)," which was co-written with Burt Bacharach, Peter Allen, and Christopher Cross for the Dudley Moore hit film "Arthur".
Carole's partnership with Burt Bacharach was fruitful, both professionally and personally. As husband and wife, they were one of songwriting's most successful teams, highlighted by the #1 song of 1986 "That What Friends Are For". Recorded by Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Dionne Warwick, and Gladys Knight, it won the Grammy Award for "Song of the Year". Carole and Burt donated their publishing monies to the American Foundation for AIDS Research. The song has continued to heighten awareness of the disease, as well as raise over $2 million for AIDS research and care.
That same year, the Sager-Bacharach's collaboration "On My Own" was recorded by Patti LaBelle and Michael McDonald and was Grammy-nominated and topped three different Billboard charts simultaneously to set a precedent. Neil Diamond's recording of their "Heartlight" also went to #1. Their greatest accomplishment came with the birth of their son, Cristopher Elton Bacharach, in 1985.
In 1998, Carole, working with David Foster, earned another Academy Award nomination for "The Prayer", sung by Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli. The song won a Golden Globe Award for "Best Original Song from a Motion Picture". That same year, Carole was nominated for an Emmy Award for the opening number to the AFI's "100 Greatest Stars", co-written by Marvin Hamlisch and performed by Liza Minnelli.
Carole was fortunate to work with Carole King on a number of projects, including their collaboration "Anyone At All", for the Nora Ephrom film "You've Got Mail". They also collaborated on "My One True Friend", performed by Bette Midler for "One True Thing" with Meryl Streep.
The start of the new millennium brought a tremendous amount of new found success to some of Carole's already very accomplished songs through the medium of major motion pictures. In 2001, Carole's song "A Groovy Kind of Love" was featured in the film "The Wedding Planner", which starred Jennifer Lopez and Matthew McConaughey. In 2003, "Don't Cry Out Loud" was featured in the film "Intolerable Cruelty", staring George Clooney and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Her song "Through the Eyes of Love" was featured in "Charlie's Angles: Full Throttle", starring Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu, and Bernie Mac. "Nobody Does It Better" was featured in "Lost In Translation", starring Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson. In 2004, "Nobody Does It Better" was also featured in "Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason", starring Renee Zellweger, and "Little Black Book", starring Britney Murphy, Holly Hunter, Kathy Bates, and Ron Livingston. The same song was also featured in "Mr. & Mrs. Smith", which starred Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie in 2005.
Also in this time, Carole and Babyface wrote "Try It on My Own", for Whitney Houston's CD which went on to #5 on the charts in 2003.
Internationally, Carole's songwriting found another audience when the runner up of the 2004 season of "Australian Idol", Anthony Callea, performed the song "The Prayer", leaving judges speechless. The song became Callea's debut single in December 2004, debuting on the ARIA singles chart at number one, remained there for five consecutive weeks, was certified four times platinum. The single currently holds the record for highest and fastest-selling single in Australia.
Beyond her songwriting, Carole is continuing her philanthropic involvement and is also a self-proclaimed avid Internet surfer and has taken up painting and has of date had three art shows.
Carole has just finished writing her memoir "They're Playing Our Song", which is published by Simon and Schuster and is to be released on October 18, 2016.
Carole executive-produced a CD entitled "It's Still Okay To Dream". All proceeds from the sale going to the "Save the Children" Foundation. The CD includes songs recorded by Eric Clapton, Barbra Streisand, Don Henley, Carly Simon, Sting, and James Taylor. The title track was written by Carole and Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, and recorded by him.
In 2005, Carole and her husband, Bob Daly, underwrote the first two years of the Los Angeles operation of the non-profit organization known as DonorChoose.org (www.donorschoose.org), which allows teachers to post the projects they need funding for and donors to choose the classroom plan that they want to fund. In 2005, when Carole and Bob began their association, this program existed in five cities. Today, it is has grown to a nationwide network. Carole solicited Morgan Freeman, Bette Midler, Sidney Poitier, and Claire Danes to participate as the four animated PSA voices that have helped the organization achieve national growth.
Carole also serves as a trustee on the board of LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
Carole lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Bob Daly, who currently serves as advisor to Viacom, as well as Chairman of the American Film Institute. He is also a former Chairman of the Dodgers and Warner Bros. She and her husband live with their four dogs, three of whom share their bed and are completely unimpressed with their accomplishments.
Last Updated: January 22, 2017