Ben Weisman, a classically trained pianist who helped write nearly 60 songs for Elvis Presley, including many for his movies, has died. He was 85.
Weisman, who had Alzheimer's disease and suffered a stroke last month, died Sunday at a long-term care hospital in Los Angeles, said Barbara Gleicher of New York, who is married to Weisman's nephew.
Weisman, whom Presley dubbed "the mad professor," wrote or co-wrote a string of gold- and platinum-selling songs for Presley, including "Follow That Dream" and "Fame and Fortune."
His songs include "Wooden Heart" for the movie "G.I. Blues," "Rock-a-Hula Baby" for "Blue Hawaii" and "Crawfish" for "King Creole."
"Whenever there was a movie (for Elvis) coming up they would call him up and say, 'We need one for, uh, the clam dance,"' Gleicher said.
He also wrote for other pop stars, including Barbra Streisand, Johnny Mathis, Bobby Vee and the Beatles.
Born Nov. 16, 1921, in Providence, R.I., Weisman was raised in Brooklyn. He studied classical piano as a teenager and at the Juilliard School of Music.
He began writing for Presley in 1956 at the request of his music publisher, Jean Aberbach.