Hello again, readers! This week I want to take the time to remember a man whose music changed the world. Many of us probably sing or hum his songs on a daily basis and never even realize it. On August 6th, Marvin Hamlisch, the 68 year-old Pulitzer prize-winning composer of A Chorus Line, passed away in Los Angeles due to illness.
I always thought of Mr. Hamlisch as one of the great “music men,” but was inspired by his untimely death to learn more about him. The first thing I discovered was he is one of only elevan people to be called an “EGOT” (pronounced eee-got) which is somebody who has won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award! Before Hamlisch was seven years old, his father already had him taking piano lessons at the famed Julliard School. Not cut out for classical music, Hamlisch discovered his knack for pop music and wrote Lesley Gore’s 1965 hit “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” at the tender age of 21. I think we will always remember Hamlisch best for his many contributions of Broadway and Hollywood scores. At the 46th Academy Awards in 1974, a 29 year-old Hamlisch swept the music categories and became the first person to receive three Oscars on the same night. He won best scoring for the movie The Sting and best song and best original dramatic score for the hit Barbara Streisand film, The Way We Were.
One of the last projects Mr. Hamlisch was working on was an auto-biographical children’s book called “Marvin Makes Music”. The adorably illustrated book tells the true story of 6-year-old Marvin who was nearly 25 minutes late to his audition at Julliard when both he and his father were locked on the music school’s roof. The book is set to go on-sale November 8 and will include a one-song CD.
On Tuesday, many stars gathered in New York City to say their final good-bye’s to a man who helped mold their careers through his music. In attendance at the funeral were Liza Minnelli, Ann-Margaret, Kelly Bishop, Leslie Uggams, Regis Philbin, Kathie Lee Gifford, Diane Sawyer, Idina Menzel (who sang “At The Ballet”), Kelli O'Hara, Raul Esparza, Richard Gere, Mike Nichols, Chris Matthews, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Priscilla Lopez, Candice Bergen, Alan Alda, Bette Midler, Susan Lucci, and Bernadette Peters. While Mr. Hamlisch may be gone, his music and his legacy will live on forever.
What is your favorite Marvin Hamlisch song? Why do you think there are so few “music men” like Mr. Hamlisch making an impact into the world today?
Until next time,