The world will remember this brilliant musician who, by the age of 5, could reproduce a song by ear on his favorite instrument,the piano, and entered Julliard by the age of 7. Obviously very gifted, Hamlisch’s career began in his classroom and went on by giving recitals during his teenage years.
One of his very first songs, “Travelin’ Man,” was recorded by Liza Minnelli on her first album entitled Liza! Liza! in 1964, which was also the year that he became the assistant to Buster Davis, the vocal arranger for Funny Girl on Broadway starring Barbra Streisand. A few years later, he was hired by Hollywood producer, Sam Speigel, to score the movie, “The Swimmer.” In 1967, Hamlisch graduated from Queens College with a degree in music.
Hamlisch composed scores for more than 30 movies. Working with the likes of director Wood Allen, his mass appeal came in 1973, when he co-wrote “The Way We Were” with Marilyn and Alan Bergman. The song, made famous by Streisand, won him his first Oscar for best original dramatic score. He also shared an Oscar with the Bergmans’ for best original song. Hamlisch won a third Oscar for “The Sting,” for his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music.
His prolificacy continued in 1975 with the enormous success of “A Chorus Line” on Broadway, which became the longest running production in history. Awards followed one after the other, including a Pulitzer Prize. Then came his collaboration with partner Carols Bayer Sager, when they co-wrote “Nobody Does It Better,” a song made famous by Carly Simon from the 1977 James Bond movie, “The Spy Who Loved Me.”
His Broadway contribution carried on in 1979 with “They’re Playing Our Song,” written by Neil Simon, which Hamlisch composed the music for and worked once again with lyric writer Bayer Sager.
His accomplishments during his career were endless with 4 Emmys, 3 Oscars, 4 Grammys, 1 Tony and 3 Golden Globes. He also conducted many Symphony Orchestras for the cities of Pittsburgh Milluakee, Seattle, San Diego, Dallas and Pasadena.
Marvin Hamlisch will be greatly missed but his music will live on forever.