Marvin Hamlisch, Oscar-Winning Composer, Dies at 68

Brent Lang
The Wrap
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Marvin Hamlisch, Composed 'The Way We Were,' Dies at 68

Composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch, best known for the torch song "The Way We Were," died Monday. He was 68 years old.

Hamlisch collapsed after a brief illness, his family announced.

In a career that spanned over four decades, Hamlisch won virtually every major award: three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony, and three Golden Globes.

Hamlisch composed more than 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.

Hamlisch's musical scores, though intricately conceived, never drew attention to themselves. They served to compliment the on-screen action, not overwhelm it -- enhancing each gesture, each glance, each moment of drama. That subtle approachallowed him to be something of a musical chameleon, easily gliding from searing dramas to off-beat comedies and making him a close collaborator to a diverse group of directors such as Woody Allen, Steven Soderbergh and Alan J. Pakula.

His deft touch, can be felt in the scores for such films as "Sophie's Choice," "Ordinary People,"  "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," an upcoming HBO film about the life of Liberace.

On Broadway, Hamlisch's output was more mixed, but he did have a smash hit with "A Chorus Line," which received the Pulitzer Prize. Other works included "They're Playing Our Song," "The Goodbye Girl" and "Sweet Smell of Success."

Something of a musical prodigy, he was the youngest student to be admitted by the prestigious Julliard School of Music.

At the time of his death, Hamlisch held the position of Principal Pops Conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony and Pops, Seattle Symphony, and San Diego Symphony. Next week, he was to be announced as the Principal Pops Conductor of The Philadelphia Orchestra.  Hamlisch was also due to conduct the New York Philharmonic in its upcoming New Year's Eve concert.

He is survived by Terre, his wife of 25 years.

More to come...

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