If you saw a film or attended a Broadway play in the 1970s or 1980s, odds are you heard his music. He has created numerous songs that have become modern day standards. He is one of eleven people who have won the competitive “EGOT”–An Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony and he is only one of two people who added a Pulitzer Prize to that list (the other was Richard Rodgers).
His name was Marvin Hamlisch, and he passed away yesterday.
Hamlisch was a child prodigy, and entered the Julliard School Pre-College Division at age six in 1951. Just over twelve years later, he got a job as Barbara Streisand’s rehearsal pianist during her involvement with the Broadway musical Funny Girl, starting a working relationship the pair would revisit a number of times in the future.
The first film Hamlisch provided music for was a 1968 Burt Lancaster vehicle, The Swimmer. From then, he would provide music for over 40 films, receiving 12 Oscar nominations, and winning three awards in 1974, one for The Sting (for Best Music, Scoring Original Song Score and/or Adaptation) and two for The Way We Were (for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score and Best Music, Original Song for the title song, an honor he shared with Alan and Marylin Bergman). He worked on three films with Streisand (The Way We Were, Funny Girl, and The Mirror Has Two Faces) and numerous concert specials with the singer, which garnered him multiple Emmys. He also scored two early Woody Allen films, Take the Money and Run and Bananas. Other films of note Hamlisch worked on were The Spy Who Loved Me, Ordinary People, Sophie’s Choice, and Three Men and a Baby. The last film he worked on was 2009’s The Informant! for director Steven Soderbergh.
Hamlisch also composed the music for the Broadway musical A Chorus Line, for which he won his Tony and the Pulitzer Prize. At the time of his death, he was working with Jerry Lewis to bring the latter’s The Nutty Professor to Broadway.