Marvin Hamlisch Dies at 68

Composer Penned 'The Way We Were' and 'A Chorus Line'

Marvin No More: Composer Marvin Hamlisch, perhaps best known for his stunning collaborations with Barbra Streisand, has died.
getty images
Marvin No More: Composer Marvin Hamlisch, perhaps best known for his stunning collaborations with Barbra Streisand, has died.

By Reuters

Published August 07, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

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

The musical creative force behind the films “The Sting” and “The Way We Were” for which he won a total of three Oscars, Hamlisch collapsed after a brief illness and died on Monday, a family spokesman said in a statement.

In a 2010 interview he told Broadway World that in writing “The Way We Were” he was trying to match “a very yin-yang sort of movie.”

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

The New York City-born composer, raised by Jewish parents and showing an early ability to mimic music as a young child, started out 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 musical director and arranger of Streisand’s 1994 U.S. concert tour, for which he won two Emmy Awards and he wrote the score for Streisand’s 1996 film, “The Mirror has Two Faces,” for which Hamlisch earned an Oscar nomination for Streisand’s and Bryan Adams duet, “I’ve Finally Found Someone.”

His other film scores notably included “Sophie’s Choice,” “Ordinary People,” and he co-wrote the ballad “Nobody Does It Better” for the 1977 James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me.”

Starting with 1969 film “The Swimmer,” he scored films for the next several decades, including Woody Allen’s “Take the Money and Run” and “Bananas”, “Save the Tiger,” “Ice Castles,” right up to Steven Soderbergh’s “The Informant!” in 2009. He had lately been writing the score for a new Soderbergh movie based on the life of pianist Liberace.

A CHORUS LINE

On Broadway, he won a Tony award and a Pulitzer Prize for drama for the 1975 musical “A Chorus Line,” which at the time became the most successful show on the Great White Way. He also wrote the scores for the Broadway musicals “They’re Playing Our Song,” (1978), “The Goodbye Girl” (1993) and “Sweet Smell Of Success” (2002).

He also won four Grammy Awards including two for “The Way We Were.”

Press representatives said he was scheduled to leave for Nashville later this week to see the Jerry Lewis stage-adapted comedy, “The Nutty Professor,” for which he wrote the score. He had been working on a new Broadway musical called “Gotta Dance.”

Hamlisch earned the rare distinction of winning Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards – and has said he believed in the power of music 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 a statement on his official website.

Hamlisch won four Grammys

At the time of his death, he held the position of principal pops conductor for several symphony orchestras across the United States and was scheduled to conduct the New York Philharmonic in this year’s New Year’s Eve concert.

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


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • Calling all Marx Brothers fans!
  • What's it like to run the Palestine International Marathon as a Jew?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.