Facts about Michel Legrand
Michel Legrand Biography
Michel Legrand was the French musician, singer and composer best known for his movie scores, including the Oscar-winning song “The Windmills of Your Mind” from the 1968 Steve McQueen movie The Thomas Crown Affair.
The son of composer Raymond Legrand, Michel was a musical prodigy who spent years of his young life at the Paris Conservatory (1942-49) before taking to the stage as an accompanying pianist for singer Maurice Chevalier and others. During the 1950s Michel Legrand made classical, pop and jazz albums, recording with stars such as Dizzy Gillespie, Sarah Vaughan, Frankie Laine and Miles Davis. He recorded English versions of French classics on I Love Paris (1954) and became a star in both countries.
Legrand also began scoring movies for France’s New Wave movement, teaming several times with Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Demy. During the 1960s and 1970s, Legrand worked in both France and the U.S., making a name for himself in the movies with Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, starring Catherine Deneuve), The Thomas Crown Affair (1968, with McQueen and Faye Dunaway), Summer of ’42 (1971, winning his second Oscar for the score) and Brian’s Song (1971, starring James Caan).
Michel Legrand won yet another Oscar for the music to Barbra Streisand‘s Yentl (1983). In all, he was nominated for 13 Oscars during his career. He handled music for more than 200 films and recorded more than 100 albums during his long career. His other film scores included Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962); Band of Outsiders (1964); Ice Station Zebra (1968); Lady Sings the Blues (1972); The Other Side of Midnight (1977); Atlantic City (1980); Best Friends (1982); Pret-a-Porter (1994); and J’ai perdu Albert (2018).
Michel Legrand collaborated several times with songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman; they got joint Oscar nominations for The Happy Ending (1969), Pieces of Dreams (1970), Best Friends (1982) and Yentl (1983).