The Songwriters Hall of Fame was saddened to learn of the passing of 1980 Inductee Marilyn Bergman, the songwriting giant and music industry fixture who, with her husband Alan, wrote the lyrics to Oscar-winning songs like Barbra Streisand’s The Way We Were and Michel Legrand’s The Windmills of Your Mind, among many others.
Born Marilyn Keith, she 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 where she met, collaborated with and then married Alan Bergman.
The Bergmans were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1980, and in 1997 joined the select company of composers and lyricists who received the organization's most prestigious and coveted Johnny Mercer Award. 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 the score for 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. The Bergmans received both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Moonlight, performed by Sting for the Sydney Pollack film, Sabrina.
The Bergmans were nominated for the Song of the Year Grammy four times — most recently in 1979 for Neil Diamond’s You Don’t Bring Me Flowers — and received the Trustees Award from the Recording Academy in 2013.
In addition to her lyrics, Marilyn Bergman was a music industry heavyweight who served as the chairman and president of the American Society of Composers, Songwriters, and Performers (ASCAP) from 1994 to 2009.
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, they received the 1987 Songwriters' Guild Aggie Award. 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.
Marilyn also served as president of CISAC, The International Confederation of Performing Rights Societies. Ms. Bergman also numbers among her many awards, the Crystal Award from Women in Film (1986); France's highest cultural honor, the Order of Arts and Letters medal (1996); and The Lifetime Achievement Award for a Distinguished Alumnus from The High School of Music and Art (1996). In 1998, Marilyn received an Honorary Doctorate from Trinity College. In 2002, she was appointed the first Chairman of the Library of Congress National Sound Recording Preservation Board.
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 board of The National Academy of Songwriters.
Marilyn is survived by her husband Alan, and their daughter, Julie Bergman Sender.