New York Native, Composing Great Marvin Hamlisch Succumbs to Short Illness

He was one of this country’s most decorated composer. Marvin Hamlisch died suddenly yesterday after a brief illness. No other details are available. Hamlisch was 68.

Hamlisch is one of only a handful of people to win the “Big Four” awards–an Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and Tony. The air gets even more rarefied when a Pulitzer Prize is included (Richard Rodgers is the other).

Hamlisch, according to wikipedia, grew up in New York City to Viennese Jewish parents. By five, the child prodigy began emulating the piano he heard on the radio.

In 1951, he was accepted by the Julliard School Pre-College Division. He was seven at the time.

His first job was as the rehearsal pianist at Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand, which came to Broadway in 1964. The two would become life-long friends.

He made his own splash on the Great White Way with the 1975 musical, A Chorus Line, earning the Tony and Pulitzer that year.

Arguably, his biggest successes, though, would be on the silver screen. And among the movie scores Hamlisch penned, The Way We Were might be the most famous. His title song, sung by Streisand, and the film’s music both won Academy Awards.  Hamlisch won the Grammy’s Best New Artist in 1975, and Song of the Year for The Way We Were.

His other Oscar was for The Sting, bringing the music of Scott Joplin to life.

Streisand helped Hamlisch pick up hardware for television as well. He was musical director and arranger for Babs’ 1994 U.S. concert tour. Later, the kindred spirits were together again, when Hamlisch oversaw her TV special, Barbra Streisand: The Concert. He received two Emmys.

Hamlisch attended Queens College. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967.

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