In 1983, she became the first songwriter to have written three of the five songs nominated for an Academy Award for Best Song.
She studied psychology and English at New York University.
She was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1980. She was given the Women in Film Crystal Award in 1986.
She married her longtime songwriting partner John Williams.
Her lyrics for Someone in the Dark from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial were sung by Michael Jackson.