Ben Weisman, a songwriter Elvis Presley called "the mad professor," died Sunday in a long-term care hospital in Los Angeles.

Weisman was a classically trained pianist who wrote 57 songs for Presley, including Follow That Dream and Fame and Fortune.

He died of complications of a stroke and pneumonia, according to his niece, Joy Auerbach. Weisman was 85.

Weisman also wrote Love in the Afternoon for Barbra Streisand, Lend Me Your Comb for The Beatles and When I Am With You for Johnny Mathis.

Born Nov. 16, 1921 in Providence, R.I., and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., Weisman studied at the famous Juilliard School of Music.

During the Second World War, he was a music director for the U.S.Air Force.

He returned to New York and became a songwriter in Tin Pan Alley. Music publisher Jean Aberbach of Hill and Range spotted his talent and signed him to an exclusive contract, which had him writing pop songs, country and big band hits.

One his biggest hits was 1955's Let Me Go Lover, recorded by four separate artists, including Patti Page and Sunny Gale.

In 1956, Aberbach asked him to write a song for Presley, who was making waves in the new musical style called rock 'n roll.

Weisman studied Presley's performance on TV, then was sent a script for Jailhouse Rock and asked to write a song.

He didn't even meet the performer until 1957, when Presley recorded his Got a Lot of Livin' to Do for the film Lovin' You.

Weisman went on to write a string of gold and platinum-selling songs for Presley, including songs for his movies such as Wooden Heart, Rock-a-Hula Baby and Crawfish. He ended up writing more Elvis hits than any other songwriter.

"I approached writing for Elvis differently than I did for any other artist," Weisman recalled in an interview.

"The songs had to have a combination of blues, country, rock and pop [what came to be called 'rockabilly']. It was like walking in his musical shoes. With each new Elvis movie, more of my songs were being recorded. It became more and more exciting, for I was becoming the only songwriter to have so many songs recorded by him."

Weismanalso wrote Gladys Knight's Love Gives You The Power, Cher's I Love Making Love To You and Nat King Cole's Mother Nature And Father Time.

With files from the Associated Press