Hal David dies at 91; songwriting partner of Burt Bacharach

Bacharach and David also wrote the music and lyrics — and Neil Simon wrote the book — for the long-running 1968 Broadway hit "Promises, Promises." The songwriters were rewarded with a Grammy.

A 1972 Times profile on David noted that the easygoing lyricist had been referred to as "the shadowy, retiring" member of the partnership, while Bacharach — who also had a solo career as a performer and was married to actress Angie Dickinson — had a glamorous public persona.

"My life is more private than Burt's," David acknowledged, "and I like it. If I could try being a celebrity one day and then decide if I liked it or not, I would. But that's impossible."

Moving into the 1970s, Bacharach and David's winning streak continued with hits such as the Carpenters' recording of "(They Long to Be) Close to You" and the 5th Dimension's "One Less Bell To Answer."

They collaborated on the 1973 musical remake of "Lost Horizon," but after the film flopped, the celebrated songwriting team broke up. Warwick sued them over an album they failed to produce for her, and Bacharach and David sued each other.

"Things just sort of peter out at a given point," David said in a 1983 Times article of the split. "A partnership such as we had is a case of one plus one equals three. There was a chemistry, and when the chemistry stops working you don't know why. But, my God, regrets I have none."

David's later songs included "To All the Girls I've Loved Before" (with composer Albert Hammond), which became a 1984 hit for Julio Iglesias and Willie Nelson; and the title song of the 1979 James Bond film "Moonraker" (with composer John Barry).

The youngest of three sons of Jewish-Austrian immigrant parents who owned a delicatessen, David was born May 25, 1921.

"I loved music and we always had music at home," David said in the 1975 book "In Their Own Words."

He learned to play the violin as a child and later had a band that played for weddings and bar mitzvahs. But from a young age, David said, he saw himself as a writer and as a teenager began penning songs.

He spent two years studying journalism at New York University and wrote advertising copy for the New York Post before serving in the Army during World War II. Stationed in Hawaii, he wrote sketches and songs for military shows.

Following the lead of his older brother Mack, a successful lyricist who wrote for the movies and television, David launched his songwriting career after the war.

In 1949, he was living in an attic on Long Island with his first wife, Anne, when he teamed with Don Rodney and had his first hit with "The Four Winds and the Seven Seas," which peaked at No. 3 for Sammy Kaye and his Orchestra.

Collaborating with different composers over the next several years, David had a number of hits, including "American Beauty Rose" for Frank Sinatra, "Broken-Hearted Melody" for Sarah Vaughan and, in 1953, "Bell Bottom Blues" for Teresa Brewer.

"That was an important hit," David told The Times in 1972, "because it got us out of our attic."

His first wife died in 1987.

David is survived by his second wife, Eunice, of Los Angeles; two sons from his first marriage, Jim David of Studio City and Craig David of Clyde, Texas; two stepsons, KC and Donald Forester; and three grandchildren.