Marvin Hamlisch Remembered

Composer and pianist Marvin Hamlisch passed way yesterday. The New York city native was a Pulitzer Prize recipient as well as the winner of an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, a Tony and two Golden Globe Awards. The lights on Broadway will be dimmed to honor composer Marvin Hamlisch, who died at the age of 68 in Los Angeles. Here are some of the tributes and obituaries that appeared in remembrance.  

Adam Bernstein’s Washington Post Obituary:

He was one singular sensation.
At 6, Marvin Hamlisch became one of the youngest students ever admitted to the prestigious Juilliard music school in New York. He wrote his first pop hit at 16. He went on to write everything heard everywhere, or so it seemed in the 1970s and early 1980s when he established himself as a dominant force in Hollywood and on Broadway.

Besides “A Chorus Line” — one of the most enduring stage musicals of all time — Mr. Hamlisch’s movie portfolio included the inspired revival of Scott Joplin’s jaunty ragtime music for “The Sting,” the sweepingly romantic theme for “The Way We Were” and the sensuous ballad“Nobody Does It Better” for the James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me.” He also wrote music for two early Woody Allen comedies and the score for the Holocaust drama “Sophie’s Choice.”

Mr. Hamlisch, who died Monday at 68 in Los Angeles of undisclosed causes, was one of the most ubiquitous show-business personalities of his generation. He toured the country playing the piano and warbling for decades, including as a musical accompanist and straight man for comedian Groucho Marx in the early 1970s... Continued…

Rob Hoerburger of the New York Times:

Marvin Hamlisch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who imbued his movie and Broadway scores with pizazz and panache and often found his songs in the upper reaches of the pop charts, died on Monday in Los Angeles. He was 68 and lived in New York.

He collapsed on Monday after a brief illness, a family friend said.

Marvin Hamlisch At The PianoFor a few years starting in 1973, Mr. Hamlisch spent practically as much time Marvin Hamlisch Playing The Pianoaccepting awards for his compositions as he did writing them. He is one of a handful of artists to win every major creative prize, some of them numerous times, including an Oscar for “The Way We Were” (1973, shared with the lyricists Marilyn and Alan Bergman), a Grammy as best new artist (1974), and a Tony and a Pulitzer for “A Chorus Line” (1975, shared with the lyricist Edward Kleban, the director Michael Bennett and the book writers James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante)…Continued…

Remembered by theater collaborators in The LA Times:

Marvin Hamlisch, who died Monday in Los Angeles at 68, was one of the most honored composers in the theater world, and one of the hardest working.
From his songs for “A Chorus Line,” which opened in 1975 and ran on Broadway for close to 15 years, to his most recent score for “The Nutty Professor,” which debuted in Nashville in July, Hamlisch never seemed to put his pen down. He moved with impressive alacrity between composing jobs and conducting appearances with pops orchestras around the country.

Carole Bayer Sager worked with Hamlisch on several projects, including the musical “They’re Playing Our Song,” which was based on their personal and professional relationship.

“His mind went a thousand and fifty miles an hour and so did his fingers,” she said in an interview Tuesday. “He could transpose music in one second. And he could pick up a melody he’d never heard if you just sang it for him.”

Sager dated Hamlisch for a few years in the late ’70s, and their sometimes stormy life together inspired Neil Simon to write the book for “They’re Playing Our Song,” which opened on Broadway in 1979. But “our relationship was nothing like what Neil wrote — ours was much more Jewishly neurotic,” Sager said.
Kay Cole, who was in the original cast of “A Chorus Line,” said in an interview that Hamlisch “could make the toughest environments enjoyable. He always had a joke and he could see the bright side of life.”

She recalled that when she rehearsed the song “At the Ballet” from “A Chorus Line,” Hamlisch kept asking her to sing her part higher and higher. “I enjoyed hitting those high notes.

“I think because he had such brilliance at a young age, he was able to make everyone feel very comfortable,” she said…Continued…

 CNN takes a look at Hamlisch’s musical legacy:

 

Here’s a 20 minute interview by Shalom TV that appeared in 2011: