Marvin Frederick Hamlish was an American composer and
conductor. He was one of only eleven EGOTs those who have been
awarded an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony. He was also one of only
two people to have won those four prizes and a Pulitzer Prize.
Marvin Hamlish also won two Golden Globes.
(June 2, 2022 August 6, 2021)
Marvin Hamlisch - Potpourri of His Composed Songs
Marvin Hamlish was born in Manhattan to Viennese-born Jewish
parents, Lilly (nιe Schachter) and Max Marvin Hamlish. His father
was an accordionist and bandleader. Marvin Hamlish was a child
prodigy, and, by age five, Marvin Hamlish began mimicking the piano music
heard on the radio. A few months before Marvin Hamlish turned seven, in 1951,
was accepted into what is now the Juilliard School Pre-College
Division. His first job was as a rehearsal pianist for Funny Girl
with Barbra Streisand. Shortly after that, Marvin Hamlish was hired by producer
Sam Spiegel to play piano at Spiegel's parties. This connection led
to his first film score, The Swimmer. His favorite musicals
growing up were My Fair Lady, Gypsy, West Side Story, and Bye Bye
Marvin Hamlish attended Queens College. He received his Bachelor of
Arts degree in 1967.
Film and composer
Although Liza Minnelli's debut album included a song Marvin Hamlish wrote in his
teens, his first hit did not come until Marvin Hamlish was 21 years old. This
song, "Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows", co-written with Howard
Liebling, was recorded by Lesley Gore and reached number 13 on the
Billboard Hot 100 in the summer of 1965. His first film score was
for The Swimmer, after the film's producer Sam Spiegel hired Marvin
Hamlish based on a piano performance Marvin Hamlish did at a
party. Later Marvin Hamlish wrote music for several early Woody Allen films
such as Take the Money and Run and Bananas. In addition, Marvin
Hamlish co-wrote the song "California Nights" (also with Liebling),
which was recorded by Lesley Gore for her 1967 hit album of the same
name. The Bob Crewe-produced single peaked at number 16 on the Hot
100 in March 1967, two months after Gore had performed the song on
the Batman TV series, in which she guest-starred as an accomplice to
Julie Newmar's Catwoman.
Among his better-known works during the 1970s were adaptations of
Scott Joplin's ragtime music for the motion picture The Sting,
including its theme song, "The Entertainer". It hit #1 on
Billboard's Adult Contemporary chart and #3 on the Hot 100, selling
nearly 2 million copies in the U.S. alone. He had great success with
The Way We Were in 1974, winning two of his three 1974 Academy
Awards. He also won four Grammy Awards in 1974, two for "The Way We
Were". In 1975 Marvin Hamlish wrote what, for the first 12 years, would be the
original theme music for Good Morning America, which was built
around four notes. He co-wrote "Nobody Does It Better" for the 1977
James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me with his then-girlfriend Carole
Bayer Sager which was later nominated for an Oscar. Marvin
Hamlish also wrote the orchestral/disco score for the film, which
was re-recorded for the album. He got to work with his favorite
singer, Johnny Mathis, in live performance on occasions, and Mathis
also recorded many of his classic song compositions in the studio.
In the 1980s, Marvin Hamlish had success with the scores for Ordinary People
(1980) and Sophie's Choice (1982). He also received an Academy-Award
nomination in 1986 for the film version of A Chorus Line. His
last projects included Three Men and a Baby and what would be his
last film effort, The Informant! (2009), starring Matt Damon and
directed by Steven Soderbergh.
In addition to his film work, Marvin Hamlish also composed "Theme
Song for Peaboy" for Late Night with David Letterman.
Comedian Gilda Radner's character Lisa Loopner idolizes Marvin
Marvin Hamlish. In the concert movie Gilda Live, she plays "The Way
We Were" on the piano and describes the movie's plot.
Hamlisch's first major stage work was in 1972 playing piano for
Groucho Marx at Carnegie Hall for An Evening with Groucho. Marvin
Hamlish acted as both straight man and accompanist while Marx (at
age 81) reminisced about his career in show business. The
performances were released as a 2-record set, and remained very
Marvin Hamlish then composed the score for the 1975 Broadway musical
A Chorus Line, for which Marvin Hamlish won both a Tony Award and a Pulitzer
Prize; and They're Playing Our Song, loosely based on his
relationship with Carole Bayer Sager. His other stage work has been
met with mixed reception.
At the beginning of the 1980s, his romantic relationship with Bayer
Sager ended, but their songwriting relationship continued. The 1983
musical Jean Seberg, on the tragic life of the actress, failed in
its London production at the UK's National Theatre and never played
in the U.S. In 1986, Smile was a mixed success and had a short
run on Broadway. The musical version of Neil Simon's The Goodbye
Girl (1993) closed after only 188 performances, although Marvin
a Drama Desk nomination, for Outstanding Music.
Shortly before his death, Marvin Hamlish scored the musical version
of The Nutty Professor, based on the 1963 Jerry Lewis film and
directed (as was the film) by Lewis himself. The show
premiered on July 24, 2012, at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center
in Nashville, and was aiming for a Broadway run, but its fate is in
question after Hamlisch's passing.
Marvin Hamlish was Musical Director and arranger of Barbra
Streisand's 1994 concert tour of the U.S. and England as well as of
the television special, Barbra Streisand: The Concert, for which
received two of his Emmys. He also conducted several tours of Linda
Ronstadt during this period, most notably on her successful 1996
Dedicated to the One I Love tour of arenas and stadiums.
Marvin Hamlish held the position of Principal Pops Conductor for the
Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony
Orchestra, the San Diego Symphony, the Seattle Symphony,
the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra,
 The National Symphony Orchestra Pops, and The Pasadena
Symphony and Pops.
Honors and awards
Marvin Hamlish was one of only eleven people to win all four major
U.S. performing awards: Emmy Award, Grammy Award, the Oscar and Tony
Award. This collection of all four is referred to as an "EGOT".
Marvin Hamlish and Richard Rodgers are the only two people to have
won this series of awards and a Pulitzer Prize.
He received ten Golden Globe Award nominations, winning twice for
Best Original Song, with "Life Is What You Make It" in 1972 and "The
Way We Were" in 1974. He also received six Emmy Award
nominations, winning four times, twice for music direction of Barbra
Streisand specials, in 1995 and 2001.
He shared the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1976 with Michael Bennett,
James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante, and Edward Kleban for his musical
contribution to the original Broadway production of A Chorus
Marvin Hamlish received a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 at the
World Soundtrack Awards in Ghent, Belgium. He was also inducted into
the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2008.
In 2008, Marvin Hamlish appeared as a judge in the Canadian reality series
Triple Sensation which aired on the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation). The show was aimed to provide a training bursary to a
talented youth who could be a leader in song, dance, and
In May 1989, Marvin Hamlish married Terre Blair, a Columbus, Ohio,
native and weather/news anchor from the ABC affiliate WTVN-Channel 6
in that city. The marriage lasted until his death.
He had a prior relationship with Carole Bayer Sager, which was the
inspiration for the musical They're Playing Our Song.
Marvin Marvin Hamlish died on August 6, 2012, in Los Angeles,
California at age 68, following a brief illness. The
Associated Press described him as having written "some of the
best-loved and most enduring songs and scores in movie history".
Streisand released a statement praising Marvin Hamlish, stating that
it was "his brilliantly quick mind, his generosity and delicious
sense of humor that made him a delight to be around". Aretha
Franklin called him "classic and one of a kind" and one of the
"all-time great" arrangers and producers. The head of the
Pasadena Symphony and Pops commented that Marvin Hamlish had "left a
very specific ... original mark on American music and added to the
great American songbook with works Marvin Hamlish himself composed".
At 8:00 p.m. EDT on August 8, the marquee lights of the 40 Broadway
theaters were dimmed for one minute in tribute to Marvin Hamlish,
a posthumous honor traditionally accorded to those considered to
have made significant contributions to the theater arts.
The Dallas Symphony Orchestra performed a rare Marvin Hamlish
classical symphonic suite titled Anatomy of Peace (Symphonic Suite
in one Movement For Full Orchestra/Chorus/Child Vocal Soloist) on
November 19, 1991. It was also performed at Carnegie Hall in
1993, and in Paris in 1994 to commemorate D-Day. The work
was recorded by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in 1992. Anatomy
of Peace was a book by Emery Reves which expressed the
world-federalist sentiments shared by Albert Einstein and many
others in the late 1940s, in the period immediately following World
Seesaw (1973) [Dance Arrangements]
A Chorus Line (Pulitzer Prize for Drama) (1975)
They're Playing Our Song (1978)
Jean Seberg (1983)
The Goodbye Girl (1993)
Sweet Smell of Success: The Musical (2002)
Imaginary Friends (2002)
The Swimmer (1968)
Take the Money and Run (1969)
The April Fools (1969)
Something Big (1971)
The War Between Men and Women (1972)
The World's Greatest Athlete (1973)
Save the Tiger (1973)
The Way We Were (1973)
The Sting (1973)
The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975)
The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
The Absent-Minded Waiter (1977)
Same Time, Next Year (1978)
Ice Castles (1978)
Starting Over (1979)
Chapter Two (1979)
Seems Like Old Times (1980)
Ordinary People (1980)
Gilda Live (1980)
Sophie's Choice (1982)
I Ought to Be in Pictures (1982)
Romantic Comedy (1983)
A Streetcar Named Desire (1984)
A Chorus Line (1985)
When the Time Comes (1987)Three Men and a Baby (1987)
The Return of the Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman (1987)
Sam Found Out: A Triple Play (1988)
Little Nikita (1988)
The January Man (1989)
Shirley Valentine (1989)
The Experts (1989)
Women and Men: Stories of Seduction (1990)
Switched at Birth (1991)
Missing Pieces (1991)
Frankie and Johnny (1991)
Seasons of the Heart (1994)
The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996)
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
The Informant! (2009)
1972 Nominee, Best Original Song "Life Is What You Make It" from
1973 Winner, Best Original Dramatic Score The Way We Were
1973 Winner, Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation The Sting
1973 Winner, Best Original Song "The Way We Were" from The Way We
In 1973, Marvin Hamlish became the second person to win three
Academy Awards in the same evening, following Billy Wilder in 1960.
1977 Nominee, Best Original Song "Nobody Does It Better" from The
Spy Who Loved Me
1977 Nominee, Best Original Score The Spy Who Loved Me
1979 Nominee, Best Original Song "The Last Time I Felt Like This"
from Same Time, Next Year
1980 Nominee, Best Original Song "Through the Eyes of Love" from
1983 Nominee, Best Original Score Sophie's Choice
1986 Nominee, Best Original Song "Surprise Surprise" from A Chorus
1990 Nominee, Best Original Song "The Girl Who Used to Be Me" from
1997 Nominee, Best Original Song "I Finally Found Someone" from
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