Marvin Hamlisch, the prolific music composer and conductor, has died at the age of 68 following a short illness. He did a lot in 68 relatively short years, and is the only person ever to have won an Oscar (3), a Tony, an Emmy (4), a Grammy (4), a Golden Globe (3) and a Pulitzer Prize.
Perhaps his best known compositions were the theme for The Sting, the love song The Way We Were from the film of the same name, and of course, the music for the Broadway smash hit The Chorus Line. Aside from winning 3 Oscars, he was nominated for the award another 8 times, for films ranging from Kotch to The Mirror Has Two Faces.
He was a child prodigy in music, not surprising since his father was a bandleader who played the accordion. He was enrolled in Julliard’s pre-college program at the age of 7, although he actually went to and graduated from Queens College. His very first paying job was as a rehearsal pianist for the musical Funny Girl, which starred Barbra Streisand. He won one Oscar and was nominated for another, for songs that he composed which were sung by Streisand. He acted as music director for her 1994 concert tour.
Hamlisch scored more than 40 films, including Sophie’s Choice, Ice Castles,Ordinary People, Three Men and a Baby and Save the Tiger.
At the time of his death, Hamlisch was working on a score for an upcoming film, the biopic about the life of Liberace which will star Michael Douglas and Matt Damon, and be directed by Stephen Soderbergh. He was also the principal conductor of the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, a job he clearly enjoyed. He had posted on his Facebook page to thank the fans who had come out to hear them perform earlier this year and said he was looking forward to seeing them in September.