Composer Marvin Hamlisch Dies in Los Angeles at 68

Tuesday, August 07, 2012 - 09:30 AM

Marvin Hamlisch Marvin Hamlisch (Shel Secunda)

Marvin Hamlisch, who composed the scores for dozens of movies including "The Sting" and won a Tony for "A Chorus Line," has died in Los Angeles at 68.

Family spokesman Jason Lee said Hamlisch died Monday after a brief illness. Other details aren't being released.

Hamlisch's career included composing, conducting and arranging music from Broadway to Hollywood.

The composer won every major award in his career, including three Academy Awards, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globes.

His music colored some of film and Broadway's most important works.

Hamlisch composed more than 40 film scores, including "Sophie's Choice," "Ordinary People" and "Take the Money and Run." He won his third Oscar for his adaptation of Scott Joplin's music for "The Sting." On Broadway, Hamlisch received the Pulitzer Prize for long-running favorite "The Chorus Line" and wrote "The Goodbye Girl" and "Sweet Smell of Success." A news release from his publicist said he was scheduled to fly to Nashville, Tenn., this week to see a production of his hit musical, "The Nutty Professor."

Hamlisch earned his place in American culture through his music, but he also had a place in popular culture. Known for his nerdy look, complete with thick eyeglasses, that image was sealed on NBC's "Saturday Night Live" during Gilda Radner's "Nerd" sketches. Radner, playing Lisa Loopner, would swoon over Hamlisch.

Hamlisch was principal pops conductor for symphony orchestras in Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, Dallas, Pasadena, Seattle and San Diego. He was to be announced to the same position with the Philadelphia Orchestra and also was due to lead the New York Philharmonic during its upcoming New Year's Eve concert.

He leaves behind a legacy in film and music that transcended far beyond notes on the page. As illustrative as the scenes playing out in front of the music, his scores helped define some of Hollywood's most iconic works.



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Comments [8]

Kenneth Bennett Lane, Lake Hiawatha, NJ from Richard Wagner Music Drama Institute, Boonton, NJ

MARVIN HAMLISCH was a "mensch," whose musical genius extolled those whose contributions to society's colorful pastiche enlivened many lives. We will miss his optimistic, cheerful engaging personality. R.I.P.
Being an opera composer myself, I feel a kinship to his creative endeavors. I, a Wagnerian romantischer heldentenor, shall sing two love songs of his in my Saturday October 20th "Greatest Love Songs of Broadway's Musicals and Movies" concert at the New Life Expo at the New Yorker Hotel.; www. and

Aug. 15 2012 06:05 PM
Nancy De Rienzo from Allamuchy, NJ

I was fortunate enough to have seen A Chorus Line during its first run on Broadway. I'll never forget that experience and relive it over and over again through the soundtrack which I've had to replace a time or two over the years. Hamlisch was brilliant and it is without a doubt that one of the brightest lights of this musical era has been dimmed forever. Thank you God for his great legacy of wonderful music. My condolences to his loved ones.

Aug. 10 2012 07:33 AM
John J. Christiano from Franklin NJ

As a child, I enjoyed my grandfather's piano playing since his repertoire inlcuded the old ragtime tunes he learned to play in his father's tavern. I considered it a lost genre until The Sting.

Marvin's resurrection of Joplin's music and teh genre will always bring back those cherished memories of Gramp at the piano and me next to him on the bench.

Thank you Mr. Hamlisch.

Aug. 08 2012 06:16 PM
Marsha from Englewood, NJ

My husband, a Cantor, performed in two concerts that Mr. Hamlisch conducted. While the first concert, which featured the Calgary Symphony, my husband and two other Cantors, was in the planning stages, a lunch meeting was arranged and I was invited. I took the day off from school for what was a memorable two hour lunch. He was down to earth, witty and a real "mench". He also got us tickets for "A Chorus Line" which had come back to Broadway and was not surprisingly sold out. A picture taken that day has a prominent place on my living room wall. He did a few more concerts after that first one that featured Cantors and Cantorial music. As we say in the Jewish tradition, May his memory be for a blessing...

Aug. 08 2012 02:13 AM
Diane from Houston

I had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Hamlisch perform several years ago at a fundraiser. He improvised brilliantly in many different styles. He was funny and charming. How sad!

Aug. 07 2012 05:15 PM
Les from Miami, Florida

I'm very sad to learn of Mr. Hamlisch's death. I'm one of the millions who enjoys hearing the score of "A Chorus Line" and watching the outstanding film of same over and over again. I wasn't able to see it live, to my regret. I think outside of a few serial composers, most composers dream of creating works that are memorable and that listeners want to hear again and again; and Mr. Hamlisch certainly made those dreams reality.

Aug. 07 2012 12:41 PM
Ernest Torres from New Hope Pa

It is the people we touch that will be remembered when we are gone, Marvin has touched the world with his creative talent, his soul will live on through his music!

Aug. 07 2012 11:31 AM

What a sad news story and what a loss! Those of us old enough to remember the first run of 'A Chorus Line' and the movie, 'The Sting' will never forget Marvin's contributions to those art forms. He was a great advocate and he brought Scott Joplin's music to a wider audience (along with Gunther Schuller and Joshua Rifkin) than it had enjoyed for a long time. We are all in his debt.

Aug. 07 2012 10:11 AM

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