Composer Marvin Hamlisch dies at 68

  • Composer Marvin Hamlisch (R) poses backstage with Alan Bergman (L) and his wife Marilyn (C) after they won the best Original Song at the 46th Academy Awards. – Source: Reuters

The American composer who wrote the scores for dozens of moviesand a half-dozen or so Broadway shows and won Oscars, Emmys,Grammys, a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize, Marvin Hamlisch has died inLos Angeles. He was 68.

The musical creative force behind the films The Sting and TheWay we Were for which he won a total of three Oscars, Hamlischcollapsed after a brief illness and died on Monday, a familyspokesman said in a statement.

In a 2010 interview he told Broadway World that in writing TheWay we Were he was trying to match a “very yin-yang sort ofmovie.”

He explained: “I wanted to write something that was upliftingand positive, on the other hand, there is a tremendous amount ofbitter-sweetness to that film – and bittersweet romance – so, it’sa real duality. and that’s why I think the song – though it’s inthe major mode – is quite sad,” he said.

The new York City-born composer, raised by Jewish parents andshowing an early ability to mimic music as a young child, startedout his professional career as a rehearsal pianist for Funny Girl,beginning a long history of working with Streisand.

He has said Streisand “has the best voice there is.”

His collaborations with her included his role as the musicaldirector and arranger of Streisand’s 1994 US concert tour, forwhich he won two Emmy Awards and he wrote the score for Streisand’s1996 film, The Mirror has two Faces, for which Hamlisch earned anOscar nomination for Streisand’s and Bryan Adams duet, I’ve FinallyFound Someone.


His other film scores notably included Sophie’s Choice, OrdinaryPeople, and he co-wrote the ballad Nobody Does It Better for the1977 James Bond film The Spy Who loved Me.

Starting with 1969 film The Swimmer, he scored films for thenext several decades, including Woody Allen’s Take the Money andRun and Bananas, Save the Tiger, Ice Castles, right up to StevenSoderbergh’s The Informant! in 2009.

He had lately been writing the score for a new Soderbergh moviebased on the life of pianist Liberace.

A Chorus Line

On Broadway, he won a Tony award and a Pulitzer Prize for dramafor the 1975 musical A Chorus Line, which at the time became themost successful show on the Great White way.

He also wrote the scores for the Broadway musicals They’rePlaying Our Song, (1978), The Goodbye Girl (1993) and Sweet SmellOf Success (2002).

He also won four Grammy Awards including two for The way WeWere.

Press representatives said he was scheduled to leave forNashville later this week to see the Jerry Lewis stage-adaptedcomedy, The Nutty Professor, for which he wrote the score.

He had been working on a new Broadway musical called GottaDance.

Hamlisch earned the rare distinction of winning Emmy, Grammy,Oscar and Tony awards — and has said he believed in the power ofmusic to connect people.

“Music can make a difference. there is a global nature to music,which has the potential to bring all people together,” he said in astatement on his official website.

Hamlisch won four Grammys

At the time of his death, he held the position of principal popsconductor for several symphony orchestras across the United Statesand was scheduled to conduct the new York Philharmonic in thisyear’s new Year’s Eve concert.

He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Terre.

Composer Marvin Hamlisch dies at 68

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