Lyricist best known for co-writing Like a Virgin, True Colors, Eternal Flame, and many other pop hits.
He attended Bard College. He founded the group Billy Thermal while he was in his mid-20s.
He and writing partner Tom Kelly composed hits for Madonna, Whitney Houston, Heart, and many others. He also worked with songwriter Rick Nowels.
His father worked for a table grape operation.
His breakthrough success came when he wrote Precious Time for Pat Benatar's 1981 album of the same name.