Updated 08/07/2012 03:27 PM
Tony Award-Winning Composer Hamlisch Dies At 68
A family spokesman says Oscar and Tony Award-winning composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch died Monday at the age of 68 after a brief illness. NY1's Frank DiLella looks back at Hamlisch's accomplished career.
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Broadway's marquees will dim for one minutes at 8 p.m. Wednesday, in memory of composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died on Monday.
In writing music for both stage and screen, Hamlisch was a true sensation. From his unforgettable score for the Broadway smash hit "A Chorus Line" to his work on film, like the sentimental Hollywood favorite "The Way We Were," Hamlisch was one of the most talented composers of his time.
A musical prodigy, Hamlisch was the youngest student to be admitted to Juilliard's Department of Music. He got his start on Broadway in the early 1960s doing arrangements for the original production of "Funny Girl," starring Barbra Streisand.
Going between Hollywood and Broadway, Hamlisch gained notoriety on the west coast for adapting Scott Joplin's music for "The Sting" along with writing the score for "The Way We Were" starring Streisand and Robert Redford. Both properties earned Hamlisch three Academy Awards before the age of 30.
In the early 1970s, Hamlisch joined forces with Michael Bennett to create the groundbreaking musical "A Chorus Line," which depicted true stories of real-life Broadway gypsies. The musical opened at The Public Theater under the leadership of Joseph Papp and later transferred to Broadway's Shubert Theatre, where it played for more than 6,000 performances.
Hamlisch's score included the musical theater anthem "One," with the famed lyrics, "One singular sensation, every little step he takes," and the ballad "What I Did For Love." He won his first and only Tony Award for his work on "A Chorus Line."
During his prolific career, Hamlisch contributed music to more than 40 films including "Sophie's Choice," "The Mirror Has Two Faces" and "Three Men And A Baby."
On Broadway, Hamlisch worked on 20 shows, including writing the scores for "They're Playing Our Song," "The Goodbye Girl" and "Sweet Smell Of Success".
He won every major entertainment award, including three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globes. He was actively working up until the time of his death.
Not only was he the leader of multiple orchestras around the country, but his collaboration with Jerry Lewis, "The Nutty Professor: The Musical," had its world premiere in Nashville, Tennessee last month.
Hamlisch is survived by his wife Terre.
I’m devastated. He was my dear friend. He’s been in my life ever since the first day I met him in 1963, when he was my rehearsal pianist for “Funny Girl.” He played at my wedding in 1998… and recently for me at a benefit for women’s heart disease. The world will remember Marvin for his brilliant musical accomplishments, from “A Chorus Line” to “The Way We Were,” and so many others, but when I think of him now, it was his brilliantly quick mind, his generosity, and delicious sense of humor that made him a delight to be around. Just last night, I was trying to reach him, to tell him how much I loved him, and that I wanted to use an old song of his, that I had just heard for the first time. He was a true musical genius, but above all that, he was a beautiful human being. I will truly miss him.