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Obit: 'Chorus Line' Composer Marvin Hamlisch Wrote for Film, Theater and TV --and Streisand

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by Aljean Harmetz
August 7, 2012 7:57 PM
1 Comment
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Marvin Hamlisch and Joe Papp
Marvin Hamlisch and Joe Papp

Marvin Hamlisch, a composer who moved effortlessly from movies to musical theatre to television, winning Grammys, Emmys, Oscars and a Tony award, died unexpectedly on Monday, August 6, at the age of 68 after a brief illness.  Hamlisch and Richard Rodgers are the only two composers who have won all of those awards as well as a Pulitzer Prize.  As the composer of “A Chorus Line,” Hamlisch shared the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976.

Hamlisch’s award-winning work spans decades.  He won his first two Oscars for the score and title song for “The Way We Were” (1973) and collected the third music Oscar offered that year for his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s ragtime music for “The Sting.”  He wrote the score or songs for more than 40 movies. 

Among his Oscar nominations were the score for “Sophie’s Choice” (1982) and the score for “The Spy Who Loves Me.” (1977.) “Nobody Does It Better,” the song he wrote for that James Bond movie with his then girlfriend, lyricist Carole Bayer Sager, was nominated for best original song.  His relationship with Bayer Sager also spawned a hit Broadway musical, “They’re Playing Our Song,” (1979) about the romantic problems of a composer and a young lyricist. Hamlisch’s last Oscar nomination came in 1997 for the song “I Finally Found Someone” from Barbra Streisand's “The Mirror Has Two Faces.”

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  • sr | August 8, 2012 4:46 PMReply

    As a volunteer at Manor Care Nursing Home in Boynton Beach, FL, in the 80s, I heard I'd missed seeing him on recent visits there to see one of his aunts. Always loved his music and his personality from his many TV show interviews.

    Later, in Thomasville, GA, (just north of Tallahasse, FL, where we'd moved) in the late 1990s, I was thrilled to have the chance to see him perform at a local civic center. He joked with the audience and played his famous pop songs and was a huge hit. I remember his saying, "Driving through town (a small quaint southern one) I was delightfully surprised to see a sign in the window of a local bakery advertising NY bagels," which brought a good laugh. Since that show, I've always looked for him and had it on my bucket list to see him perform live again. Terribly disappointed I'll have to scratch that off my list and that he died so young!

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