Popular composer Marvin Hamlisch has died. He was 68.
It’s hard to believe he was only 68 years old. But then, he started young. Marvin Hamlisch was in his mid-20s when he started composing for films, and he was still in his 20s (barely) when he had his really big years, 1973 and 1974.
Those were the years of The Sting and The Way We Were, two hit movies that spawned hit songs. The movies came out in 1973. On Oscar night in 1974, Marvin Hamlisch went home with three Oscars. On Grammy night in 1974, Marvin Hamlisch went home with 4 Grammys.
Two years later Marvin Hamlisch won a Tony award for A Chorus Line. He also won Emmys in 1995, 1999 and 2001, for music written for awards shows and Barbra Streisand specials.
The Emmys, Grammys, Oscars and Tony he won have caused some obituary writers to use the hideous acronym EGOT to describe Hamlisch.
They forget that Hamlisch also won Golden Globes and a Pulitzer, making him an EGGPOT (or EGGGPOT). A slightly less hideous acronym that’s at least a little bit funny sounding.
And funny was his final project. His most recent stage musical opened in Nashville a week ago, a new production of The Nutty Professor, directed by Jerry Lewis (he’s 86!) and based on Lewis’s movie (not Eddie Murphy‘s). Marvin Hamlisch wrote the music. Rupert Holmes wrote the lyrics. They say the play is Broadway bound.
Hamlisch had a very impressive career. His movie scores included Save the Tiger (1973, the movie that brought Jack Lemmon a Best Actor Oscar), Ordinary People (1980, the movie that brought Robert Redford a Best Director Oscar) and Sophie’s Choice (1982, the movie that brought Meryl Streep a Best Actress Oscar). His pop songs included “The Way We Were” by Barbra Streisand, “Nobody Does It Better” by Carly Simon and, by way of Scott Joplin, “The Entertainer.”
Where would the ice cream truck industry be without “The Entertainer”? Still playing “Pop Goes the Weasel,” that’s where they’d be.
Read the Who2 biography of Marvin Hamlisch here.
For a nicely done tribute, see Broadway World’s obituary here.
CBS News is a quick source for what they call his “unusual prize package,” listing his big awards and what they were for, be it Grammy wins or Emmy wins or what have you.
Finally, here’s a video tribute to the music of Marvin Hamlisch.