|GEORGE DAVID WEISS|
OLDWICK, N.J. — George David Weiss, who helped write chart-topping pop hits including “Can’t Help Falling in Love’’ and “What a Wonderful World,’’ has died. He was 89.
He died Monday of natural causes at his home in Oldwick, said his wife, Claire.
Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and many other big-name artists recorded compositions written or co-written by Mr. Weiss, whose career choice greatly disappointed his mother. She wanted him to become a lawyer.
A Juilliard School of Music graduate who played the violin, piano, saxophone, and clarinet, Mr. Weiss was a military bandleader during World War II. He soon gained wide recognition as a songsmith with success over the next few decades.
Among the notable compositions he wrote or co-wrote were “Can’t Help Falling in Love,’’ recorded by Presley; “The Lion Sleeps Tonight,’’ recorded by the Tokens; “What a Wonderful World,’’ recorded by Louis Armstrong; “Surrender,’’ recorded by Perry Como; and “Oh! What It Seemed to Be’’ by Sinatra.
He also collaborated on several Broadway musicals, including “Mr. Wonderful,’’ which starred Sammy Davis Jr., and “Maggie Flynn,’’ featuring Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy.
He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1984.
He also was president of the Songwriters Guild of America from 1982 to 2000 and often testified before government agencies, mostly on copyright issues.