You probably don’t know the man, but you know his music. Songwriter, producer, singer and actor Paul Jabara (1948-1992), of Lebanese ancestry, won an Academy Award in 1979 for writing the Donna Summer disco hit "Last Dance" (video below) – an Oscar for best original song for 1978's “Thank God It’s Friday”. A native of Brooklyn, NY, he made his Broadway debut in the original cast of “Hair,” going on to create the role of King Herod in the original London production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”
Although he wrote songs for Barbra Streisand (“The Main Event”), Bette Midler (“Jinxed”) and a duet for Streisand and Summer (“Enough Is Enough”), he is perhaps better known as the writer of “It’s Raining Men” (The Weather Girls, video above). Jabara also produced Streisand’s Grammy Award-winning “Broadway Album.” As a singer himself, he released seven albums. “Paul Jabara and Friends” (1983) featured a 19-year-old Whitney Houston.
Paul’s movie career included roles in "Midnight Cowboy," "The Lords of Flatbush," "The Day of the Locust," "Honky-Tonk Freeway," "Star 80," "Legal Eagles" and "Light Sleeper." He also appear on television in "Starsky and Hutch," "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman," "The Equalizer" and the made-for-television movies "The Last Angry Man" and "Out of the Darkness."
Jabara died from AIDS at just 44 years old. He is buried at the historic Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, alongside such gay luminaries as Leonard Bernstein, Fred Ebb (of Kander & Ebb), Louis Moreau Gottschalk and Dr. Richard Isay.