Marvin Hamlisch

Marvin Hamlisch Biography.com

Songwriter(1944–2012)
Marvin Hamlisch composed more than 40 motion picture scores throughout his career, including 1973's "The Way We Were" and 1975's "A Chorus Line." He is also known for his musical adaptation for 1973's The Sting, and work on such films as Sophie's Choice and Ordinary People.

Synopsis

Born in New York City on June 2, 1944, Marvin Hamlisch composed more than 40 motion picture scores throughout his musical career, including 1973's "The Way We Were," which he co-wrote with Marilyn and Alan Bergman. Hamlisch received an Oscar Award for that score, and two years later, won a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for co-writing 1975's "A Chorus Line." Hamlisch is also known for his musical adaptation for 1973's The Sting, and musical work on such films as Sophie's Choice, Ordinary People, Three Men and a Baby, Ice Castles and Bananas. His songs often reached top ranks on the U.S. and U.K. pop charts. Hamlisch died at the age of 68, on August 6, 2012, in Los Angeles, California.

Early Life

Born in New York City on June 2, 1944, Marvin Hamlisch was musically inclined at a young age. In his later autobiography, he explained that, as a boy, he realized he had a highly distinguished musical ear: "I heard sounds that other children didn't hear."

Hamlisch attended both the Juilliard School of Music and Queens College, and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.

Acclaimed Musical Composer

Hamlisch composed more than 40 motion picture scores throughout his musical career, including 1973's "The Way We Were," which he co-wrote with Marilyn and Alan Bergman. Hamlisch received an Oscar Award for that score, and two years later, won a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for co-writing 1975's "A Chorus Line." He also won a Grammy Award (best new artist) in 1974, and received four Emmy Awards and several other Grammys and Oscars in his later years.

In a 1983 interview with The New York Times, Hamlisch detailed his work on "A Chorus Line," explaining that he drew inspiration from putting himself in an audience perspective. "You mustn't underestimate an audience's intelligence," Hamlisch said.

Hamlisch is also known for his musical adaptation for 1973's The Sting (Scott Joplin wrote the original music), and musical work on such films as Sophie's Choice, Ordinary People, Three Men and a Baby, Ice Castles and Bananas. His songs often reached top ranks on the U.S. and U.K. pop charts.

Death and Legacy

Hamlisch died at the age of 68, on August 6, 2012, in Los Angeles, California. According to The New York Times, he had collapsed after suffering from a short illness.

At the time of his death, Hamlisch held many acclaimed titles, including principal pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony and Pops, Seattle Symphony and San Diego Symphony. He had also been working on a new musical score for Gotta Dance, and preparing to write music for a film about famous American pianist Wladziu Valentino Liberace, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.

Hamlisch left a powerful legacy to the film, theater and music industries. His dozens of scores, as well as his passion for music and work as a musical advocate (in his later years) will be remembered for decades to come. According to his website, Hamlisch once said, "Music can make a difference. There is a global nature to music, which has the potential to bring all people together. Music is truly an international language, and I hope to contribute by widening communication as much as I can."

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