His longtime manager Jim Morey said in a statement on Facebook that Davis died on Tuesday in Nashville, Tenn., after heart surgery and was surrounded by family and friends.
Davis had a long and varied career in music for decades as a writer, singer, actor and TV host and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2006. In addition to penning Presley hits, he was responsible for his own track “Baby Don’t Get Hooked On Me.” He was named 1974’s entertainer of the year by the Academy of Country Music and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
“Thank you, dear Lord Jesus, for letting us know the man to whom you gave the most incredible talent,” said Reba McEntire in a statement. “He entertained and spread joy to so many people. What a wonderful legacy he left all of us with his music. Mac was one of a kind. I’m so blessed to have been one of his many friends.”
Born in Lubbock, Texas, and raised in Georgia, Davis was inspired by fellow Lubbock native Buddy Holly, but it was Presley who gave him his first musical big break. Davis worked as a staff songwriter in Los Angeles for Nancy Sinatra’s publishing company when in 1968 Presley cut “A Little Less Conversation.”
Davis got a recording deal of his own in 1970, recording “Hooked on Music,” “It’s Hard to be Humble,” and “Texas in my Rearview Mirror,” and getting crossover success on pop charts. He had his own TV series, “The Mac Davis Show” on NBC, and also acted in TV and film, including alongside Nick Nolte in the football film “North Dallas Forty.” He even starred on Broadway, in “The Will Rogers Follies” and toured with the musical. The group Gallery had a hit on his song “I Believe in Music.”