Marvin Hamlisch, one of only two people to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony, and a Pulitzer Prize, died at the age of 68, after a “brief illness,” according to his family. In total, Hamlisch won four Grammys, four Emmys,three Oscars, three Golden Globes, one Tony, and a Pulitzer.
“He was the youngest student to be admitted by Manhattan’s Julliard School of Music,” Billboard reported:
Hamlisch composed over forty motion picture scores, including his Oscar-winning score and song for “The Way We Were,” and his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for “The Sting,” for which he received a third Oscar. Other original film scores and/or musical adaptation, included “Sophie’s Choice,” “Ordinary People,” “The Swimmer,” “Three Men and a Baby,” “Ice Castles,” “Take the Money and Run,” Bananas,” “Save the Tiger,” “The Informant!,” and his latest effort, “Behind the Candelabra,” a film about the life of Liberace.
On Broadway, Hamlisch wrote the music for his groundbreaking show, “A Chorus Line,” which received the Pulitzer Prize, as well as “They’re Playing Our Song,” “The Goodbye Girl” and “Sweet Smell of Success.”
Hamlisch was born in New York City to Viennese Jewish parents: Lilly Schachter and Max Hamlisch. His father was an accordionist and bandleader. Hamlisch was a child prodigy, and by age five he began mimicking music he heard on the radio on the piano. A few months before he turned seven, in 1951, he 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, he 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 Birdie.
Hamlisch attended Queens College. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1967.
Image by Phil Konstantin
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