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

Thompson on Hollywood By Aljean Harmetz | Thompson on Hollywood August 7, 2012 at 7:57PM

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.
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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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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.