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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.

Marvin Hamlisch was born on June 2, 1944.  Viennese Jews, his parents had come to America to escape the Nazis. His father, Max, was an accordionist and bandleader, and Marvin was a musical prodigy.  At the age of seven, he was offered a place at Julliard.  When he left 13 years later, his first job was as a rehearsal pianist for the Broadway musical, “Funny Girl.”  That job began an association and friendship with the musical’s star, Barbra Streisand, that would last for decades and lead in later years to Emmys for HBO’s documentary of Streisand’s 1994 concert tour and, in 2001, for “Barbra Streisand – Timeless.”

In recent years, Hamlisch had a second career as a conductor.  He was currently the principal pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and several others.  Within the last few weeks, according to the Pasadena Symphony president Melinda Shea, he had signed a three-year contract with the symphony.

Hamlisch is survived by his wife Terre Blair. 

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