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Home Movie CraftsComposers Marvin Hamlisch: ‘The Way We Were’ Composer & ‘The Sting’ Score Adapter

Marvin Hamlisch: ‘The Way We Were’ Composer & ‘The Sting’ Score Adapter

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Marvin Hamlisch Barbra Streisand
Marvin Hamlisch and Barbra Streisand.
Ramon Novarro Beyond Paradise

Best known for the Oscar-winning theme song from the 1973 Barbra Streisand-Robert Redford tearjerker The Way We Were, composer and conductor Marvin Hamlisch died Monday, August 6, in Los Angeles. Hamlisch, who was 68, reportedly collapsed after “a brief illness.”

Marvin Hamlisch awards

During the course of his 45-year career, the New York-born (June 2, 1944) Hamlisch was nominated for twelve Academy Awards, winning three times – all at the same Oscar ceremony (1974): for composing the music for the song “The Way We Were,” which had lyrics by Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman; for the original score for The Way We Were; and for composing the adapted score (from Scott Joplin’s original) for the year’s Best Picture winner The Sting.

Upon accepting his third Oscar, Hamlisch told the crowd at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion: “I think we can talk as friends. I feel as if I know you. You’re terrific. I want to thank you, again, as it were. Thanks to [The Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia producer] Sam Spiegel – my first job. You’ve done it for this year.” Hamlisch, who also thanked “the makers of Maalox” while accepting Oscar no. 2, began his Hollywood career by playing piano at Spiegel’s parties.

Besides his three Oscars, Marvin Hamlisch won one Grammy (The Way We Were score), three Emmys (including one for the 1994 special Barbra: The Concert), a Tony (A Chorus Line, 1975), two Golden Globes (“The Way We Were” and “Life Is What You Make It” from the 1971 Walter Matthau drama Kotch), and a Pulitzer (also for A Chorus Line). Marvin Hamlisch and Richard Rodgers are reportedly the only Grammy, Emmy, Tony, Oscar, and Pulitzer winners to date.

Marvin Hamlisch movies

Among Hamlisch’s other credits as a composer – mostly in movies of the ’70s and ’80s – are the scores (and sometimes songs) for the following films: the Burt Lancaster vehicle The Swimmer (1968), Hamlisch’s first composer credit; the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me (1977); Alan J. Pakula’s Holocaust drama Sophie’s Choice (1982), starring Meryl Streep; the television remake of A Streetcar Named Desire (1984), with Ann-Margret; the comedy blockbuster 3 Men and a Baby (1987); and the Barbra Streisand-directed romantic melodrama The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996).

According to the IMDb, Marvin Hamlisch’s last composer credit was for Steven Soderbergh’s The Informant! (2009), starring Matt Damon.

Marvin Hamlisch quote via Damien Bona and Mason Wiley’s Inside Oscar.

Barbra Streisand, Marvin Hamlisch photo via cfnews13.

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