Marvin Hamlisch: One Singular Sensation
In a career that spanned nearly five decades, Marvin Hamlisch won every major entertainment award, most more than once. Hamlisch won four Emmys, four Grammys, three Oscars and one Tony. (Hamlisch completed his sweep of the coveted "EGOT" in 1995, when he was just 51.) Hamlisch died on Monday at age 68 following a brief illness.
Hamlisch's most famous song is one of the top standards to emerge from the 1970s: "The Way We Were," which Barbra Streisand introduced in her 1973 movie of the same name.
In a 2010 interview with www.Broadwayworld.com, Hamlisch said that, in composing the song, he sought to capture the bittersweet quality of the film, a romantic drama in which Streisand starred opposite Robert Redford.
"I wanted to write something that was uplifting and positive. On the other hand, there is a tremendous amount of bittersweet-ness to that film—and bittersweet romance—so, it's a real duality. And that's why I think the song, though it's (composed) in the major mode, is quite sad."
"The Way We Were" became an instant-standard when it was released in the fall of 1973. In February 1974, it became Streisand's first #1 single. That April, it won an Oscar as Best Song. In December, it ranked #1 on Billboard's recap of the year's top 100 singles. In March 1975, it won a Grammy as Song of the Year. That July, it returned to the top 15 in a cover version by Gladys Knight & the Pips.
Hamlisch and Streisand had a long and fruitful collaboration. He won two Oscars, three Emmys and two Grammys for his work with the legendary star. In addition to composing the title song and score to The Way We Were, he served as music director for her 1995 TV special Barbra Streisand: The Concert (for which he won two Emmys) and her 2001 special Barbra Streisand: Timeless (for which he won one).
Hamlisch also co-wrote Streisand's most recent top 10 hit, "I Finally Found Someone," from her 1996 film The Mirror Has Two Faces. The soft rock ballad, a collaboration with Bryan Adams, received an Oscar nomination for Best Song.