The Songwriters Hall of Fame was saddened to learn of the passing of one of our esteemed inductees, Marvin Hamlisch, on Monday, August 6th.
“It is my sad duty to mark the untimely passing of the creator of some of America’s most substantial and immortal musical works,” said SHOF Chairman Jimmy Webb. “Marvin Hamlisch, a genial unassuming figure was equally at home on a piano bench, or with a baton standing in front of an orchestra, or gathered with a group of admiring students sharing his wisdom. Marvin will be missed by the audience, the music industry and of course, the songwriters who respected him so much. He was a musical genius.”
Long established as a popular composer of motion picture soundtracks, Broadway scores and pop hits, Marvin Hamlisch was equally at home on stage, or in guest appearances with some of the greatest symphony orchestras in this country and in Europe.
A graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and Queens College, Marvin Hamlisch was born in New York City on June 2, 1944, and began composing at the age of eight. At the age of 16, he had his first hit, “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows.”
It was in 1974 that Marvin Hamlisch vaulted to national recognition when, in one evening, he received three Academy Awards for his work on two hit motion pictures: The Sting and The Way We Were, (immortalized by Barbra Streisand). Among his many Hollywood credits are scores for the films “The Spy Who Loved Me,” “Sophie’s Choice,” “Ordinary People,” “Save the Tiger,” “Take the Money and Run,” and “Ice Castles.” On television, his credits include the theme for ABC’s “Good Morning, America.”
On Broadway, his achievements are equally spectacular. His very first Broadway score was A Chorus Line, and became one of the longest running Broadway show in history. In 1979, he collaborated with Neil Simon and Carole Bayer Sager on They’re Playing Our Song, and in the late 1980’s he produced Smile.
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). All told, he won three Oscars, four Emmys and four GRAMMYS. He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1986.