In Memoriam – Marvin Hamlisch, 1944 – 2012

Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch died August 6 in Los Angeles.  He had just turned 68 on June 6.  He collapsed Monday after a brief illness.

Admitted to Julliard at age 7, Hamlisch fell in love with the theatre and eventually became one of America’s most renowned songwriters and musical composers.  He is among a handful of artists to win every major creative prize, some more than once, including an Oscar for “The Way We Were” (1973) and a Tony and a Pulitzer for “A Chorus Line” (1975).  Other works include the score for the 1973 film The Sting and the song “Nobody Does It Better” from the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me.

He often teamed up with fellow lyricist Carol Bayer Sager and singer Barbra Streisand.

In more recent years, Mr. Hamlisch also became an ambassador for music, traveling around the country and performing and giving talks at schools. He often criticized the cuts in arts education.

“I don’t think the American government gets it,” he said during an interview at the Orange County High School of the Arts in Santa Ana, Calif.  “I don’t think they understand it’s as important as math and science.  It rounds you out as a person.  I think it gives you a love of certain things.  You don’t have to become the next great composer.  It’s just nice to have heard certain things or to have seen certain things.  It’s part of being a human being.”

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