Co-wrote timeless hits "The Way We Were" and "It Might Be You."

Browse Song Catalog: ASCAP

Alan Bergman


He decided to be a songwriter at age 10 and became a protégé of the great Johnny Mercer. He and wife Marilyn Bergman have created a timeless chapter of the contemporary American songbook.

* Alan and Marilyn Bergman were also the 1997 recipients of The Johnny Mercer Award, the SHOF’s highest honor

Alan and Marilyn Bergman are recognized as one of the most successful lyric writing teams in history.

The Bergmans were inducted into the Songwriters' Hall of Fame in 1980, and in the Fall of 2003, joined 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 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. More recently, the Bergmans received both Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for "Moonlight," performed by Sting for 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, was elected president and chairman of the ASCAP board. She completed her tenure as president in 2009 but remains involved in ASCAP as a member and former board member.

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. 

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. Bergman has also performed as a singer, appearing 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.

Alan serves as a member of the Library of Congress National Film Preservation Board, the Johnny Mercer Foundation Board, the Artists' Rights Foundation Board and the Jazz Bakery Board of Directors. Alan and Marilyn are both on the Executive Committee of the Music Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. In 2011 Alan received special recognition from his Alma Mater when the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill presented him with their Distinguished Alumnus Award.

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, 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.

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 serve as members of the board of The National Academy of Songwriters.

Alan & Marilyn have one daughter, Julie Bergman Sender, an independent film producer.

Honored with SHOF’s highest accolade, the Johnny Mercer Award, in 1997.