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Marvin Hamlisch

Marvin Hamlisch

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Also Known As: Died: August 6, 2012
Born: June 2, 1944 Cause of Death: Respiratory Arrest
Birth Place: New York City, New York, USA Profession: composer, pianist, conductor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As one of the most gifted and decorated film composers of his generation, Marvin Hamlisch became one of only two people in history to amass an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize in his lifetime. It was small wonder that Hamlisch achieved such greatness, having scored some of the biggest, most memorable films in cinema history, including "The Sting" (1974), "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977), "Ordinary People" (1980) and "Sophie's Choice" (1982). But it was his longtime collaboration with Barbra Streisand that earned Hamlisch acclaim on both stage and screen. Starting with his chance hiring as a rehearsal pianist for the Broadway debut of "Funny Girl" (1964), Hamlisch and Streisand established themselves as a vibrant collaborative force with the romantic drama, "The Way We Were" (1973). Years later, he joined Streisand as the conductor for her 1994 concert tour, which was filmed for HBO and earned him two Emmy Awards. Following his Oscar-nominated music for her star vehicle, "The Mirror Has Two Faces" (1996), he won another Emmy for arranging and conducting the music for the television special, "Barbra Streisand - Timeless" (Fox, 2001), which confirmed that Hamlisch was perhaps the...

As one of the most gifted and decorated film composers of his generation, Marvin Hamlisch became one of only two people in history to amass an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, a Tony and a Pulitzer Prize in his lifetime. It was small wonder that Hamlisch achieved such greatness, having scored some of the biggest, most memorable films in cinema history, including "The Sting" (1974), "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977), "Ordinary People" (1980) and "Sophie's Choice" (1982). But it was his longtime collaboration with Barbra Streisand that earned Hamlisch acclaim on both stage and screen. Starting with his chance hiring as a rehearsal pianist for the Broadway debut of "Funny Girl" (1964), Hamlisch and Streisand established themselves as a vibrant collaborative force with the romantic drama, "The Way We Were" (1973). Years later, he joined Streisand as the conductor for her 1994 concert tour, which was filmed for HBO and earned him two Emmy Awards. Following his Oscar-nominated music for her star vehicle, "The Mirror Has Two Faces" (1996), he won another Emmy for arranging and conducting the music for the television special, "Barbra Streisand - Timeless" (Fox, 2001), which confirmed that Hamlisch was perhaps the single most accomplished composer working in Hollywood.

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Milestones close milestones

1960:
Met Liza Minnelli and Judy Garland through friend who was dating Minnelli
1964:
Hired as rehearsal pianist for "Funny Girl"; first collaboration with Barbra Streisand
1965:
Had first hit with "Sunshine, Lolipops and Rainbows," recorded by Lesley Gore
:
Worked as vocal arranger on syndicated "The Bell Telephone Hour"
1967:
Wrote "California Nights" for Gore
1967:
Hired to play piano for party given by Sam Spiegel; impressed Spiegel who hired Hamlisch to score "The Swimmer"
1968:
Composed first film score "The Swimmer"
1970:
Met Ann-Margret; later worked on her Las Vegas, NV act
1971:
First Oscar nomination, for composing song "LIfe Is What You Make It" from "Kotch"
1973:
Became first person to win three music Oscars in one night
1974:
Worked as accompanist and "straight man" to Groucho Marx
1975:
Made debut as concert pianist with Minneapolis Orchestra
1976:
Composed first Broadway score "A Chorus Line"; won a Tony Award and shared a Pulitzer Prize in Drama
1976:
Produced first TV special "The Entertainer" (NBC)
1977:
First collaboration with Carole Bayer Sager, the song "Nobody Does It Better" from the James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me"
1978:
Composed music for "Ice Castles," including theme song "Through the Eyes of Love"
1979:
Wrote second Broadway musical "They're Playing Our Song" with Carole Bayer Sager; show based on their relationship
1983:
First stage flop, "Jean"; a musical biography of Jean Seberg, which premiered in London
1986:
Collaborated with Howard Ashman on the short-lived Broadway musical "Smile"
1993:
Returned to Broadway with the ill-fated musical version of Neil Simon's "The Goodbye Girl"
1994:
Conducted orchestra for Barbra Streisand's concert tour
1996:
Received 12th Oscar nomination for the song "I Finally Found Someone" from Barbra Streisand's "The Mirror Has Two Faces"; song co-written by Streisand, Bryan Adams, and Robert John 'Mutt' Lange
1997:
Added new songs (co-written with lyricist David Zippel) for the London production of "The Goodbye Girl"
1998:
Collaborated with the Bergmans to pen song "A Ticket to Dream" for "AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies" (CBS); received Emmy Award
1999:
Reteamed with Carole Bayer Sager on song "With You" featured in the special "AFI's 100 Years...100 Stars"; garnered Emmy nomination
2000:
Wrote the music to Craig Carnella's lyrics for the score to the stage musical "Sweet Smell of Success"; show tentatively scheduled for Broadway in February 2002
2001:
Picked up Emmy nominations as music director for the Fox special "Barbra Streisand: Timeless" and as composer of the song "On the Way to Becoming Me" (written with Alan and Marilyn Bergman) for "American Film Institute Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Barbra Streisand"; won award for the former
2009:
Composed the music for "The Informant"; earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score
2012:
Conducted orchestra for "Idina Menzel Live: Barefoot at the Symphony" (PBS)
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Education

The Juilliard School: New York , New York - 1951 - 1964
Queens College: Flushing , New York - 1967

Notes

Hamlisch also composed the theme for the TV show, "Good Morning, America."

When he picked up his 1995 Emmy, Hamlisch became the sixth person to win each of the four major entertainment awards in competition. (Helen Hayes, Audrey Hepburn, Richard Rodgers, Rita Moreno and John Gielgud were the other five.) In 2001, two more people joined that elite club: Mel Brooks and Mike Nichols.

On why he has more or less stopped composing film scores, Hamlisch told Susan King of the Los Angeles Times (July 27, 2000): "To tell you the truth, there's really only so much time, and I really want to do some more Broadway shows before I pack it in."

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Carol Bayer Sager. Lyricist. Together in 1970s ; collaborated on Broadway musical "They're Playing Our Song", based on their relationship.
companion:
Emma Samms. Actor. Briefly engaged in the late 1970s.
wife:
Terre Blair. TV personality. Married March 6, 1989.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Max Hamlisch. Musician. Viennese immigrant; moved to USA to escape the Nazis.
mother:
Lilly Hamlisch.
sister:
Theresa Hamlisch. Casting director. Older; died of breast cancer on February 24, 2001.

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Way I Was" Scribner

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