Grammy-nominated musician Dave Frishberg, known for penning the iconic Schoolhouse Rock tune “I’m Just a Bill,” has died. He was 88.
The news of Frishberg’s death was first shared via a post on his Facebook page, with his wife, April Magnusson, confirming that he had been battling an illness for several years. He died peacefully at his home in Portland, Oregon.
“We are saddened to report that Dave passed away today, after battling illness for several years,” Magnusson wrote on a GoFundMe page that had previously been set up to help support Frishberg’s medical bills. “As a result, we are suspending the campaign, but your thoughts and support are always welcome.”
Frishberg was born March 23, 1933, in St. Paul Minnesota, and began his career in music in the Greenwich Village jazz scene, rising to prominence as a talented pianist. He would go on to work as a studio musician in Los Angeles in the 1970s, later recording his own Grammy-nominated albums and providing music for film and television.
He is best known for his work on Schoolhouse Rock, the series of animated musical educational short films that aired during the Saturday morning children’s programming block on ABC from 1973-85. The show would feature catchy songs to help kids learn facts from a range of subjects, including grammar, science, economics, history, mathematics, and civics.
Frishberg’s “I’m Just a Bill” is one of the series’ most memorable songs; it is an educational civics song that explains the legislative process of the United States. It premiered in an episode of the program’s third season in 1976 and has stood the test of time — it was even spoofed on Saturday Night Live in 2014.
His songs also featured in Legally Blonde 2, the Burt Reynolds film Paternity, NBC’s Bennett Brothers, and the Danish series Forbrydelsen. He had also appeared as a musical guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and in bit roles for shows like Simon & Simon.