Alan and Marilyn Bergman are recognized as one the most successful lyric writing teams in history.
The Bergmans were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1980, and join the select company of composers and lyricists who enjoy a second citation from the organization, the coveted Johnny Mercer Award, named in memory of the Hall of Fame’s founding president. They have enjoyed multiple songwriting accolades, including Emmys, Grammys and three separate Oscars, for “The Windmills of Your Mind” (1968); “The Way We Were” (1975); and for the score of “Yentl” (1984).
Their lyrics also have received l6 nominations, for such songs as “It Might Be You,” from “Tootsie;” “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?” from “Best Friends;” “Papa, Can You Hear Me?” and “The Way He Makes Me Feel,” from “Yentl;” and “What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?” from “The Happy Ending.” More recently, the Bergmans received both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for “Moonlight,” performed by Sting in the Sydney Pollack film, “Sabrina.”
Marilyn Keith was a music major at New York’s High School of Music and Art and later studied psychology and English at New York University. After college she moved to Los Angeles and again picked up the musical thread of her life. In California, she met, collaborated with and then married Alan Bergman. In 1985, Marilyn became the first woman to be elected to the board of directors of ASCAP and in February 1994, after serving five terms on the board, was elected president and chairman of the board of the organization. She was just re-elected to a second term.
Marilyn served a second term as president of CISAC, The International Confederation of Performing Rights Societies. Ms. Bergman also numbered among her many tributes, the Crystal Award from Women in Film (1986), and France’s highest cultural honor, the Order of Arts and Letters medal (1996).
Alan Bergman, who was born in Brooklyn, decided to be a songwriter at age 10. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and did graduate study in music at UCLA. Following graduate school, he answered a call from across the nation at WCAU-TV in Philadelphia, where he became a TV director and moonlighting songwriter. Encouraged by his mentor, the late Johnny Mercer, he returned to Los Angeles and devoted full time to songwriting.
Alan currently serves on the boards of directors of The Johnny Mercer Foundation, The Artists’ Rights Foundation and The Jazz Bakery.
Bergman has donned yet another hat, this time as singer. He has appeared in this guise at the Russian Tea Room in New York, at the Jazz Bakery in Los Angeles and at various charity events as well, and recorded his first album, “Bergman sings the Bergmans.”
In recent years, the Bergmans have enjoyed a number of major successes. In 1986, Alan and Marilyn received the Clooney Foundation “Singers’ Salute to the Songwriter” award. They wrote and Marilyn Bergman co-executive produced the acclaimed “One Voice,” concert starring Barbra Streisand. Marilyn also acted as executive producer of the PBS special, “The Music Makers: An ASCAP Celebration of American Music at Wolf Trap.” The following year, Alan and Marilyn co-wrote the opening ceremonies, “An American Reunion,” for President Clinton’s first inaugural festivities at the Lincoln Memorial, aired live on HBO, January 17, 1993 and scripted the record-shattering Barbra Streisand concert tour and HBO Special in 1994 for which they received a Cable Ace Award. They also received both the Cable Ace and an Emmy for Best Original Song for “Ordinary Miracles,” from the HBO special, “Barbra Streisand: The Concert.”
In 1995, the Bergmans were both named by the National Academy of Songwriters for the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award and received honorary doctorates from the renowned Berklee College of Music in Boston. They also served as members of the executive committee of the Music Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and as members of the board of The National Academy of Songwriters.
Alan & Marilyn have one daughter, Julie Bergman Sender, an independent film producer.