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Marvin Hamlisch, 'The Entertainer' dies at 68

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 7th, 2012
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

He was a shy and private man with thick eyeglasses, sporting a patently nerdy look. He lived in fear of not meeting his father's expectations, telling him, "By the time Gershwin was your age, he was dead and he'd written a concerto. Where's your concerto, Marvin?" Composer Marvin Hamlisch would only go to win including three Academy Awards, four Emmys, four Grammys, a Tony and three Golden Globes. Hamlisch has passed away after a brief illness at the age of 68.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hamlisch collapsed and died after a brief illness, his publicist Ken Sunshine said. Further details have not yet been released.

A child musical prodigy, Hamlisch's music colored some of Hollywood and Broadway's most important works.

The composer of more than 40 film scores, his credits included "Sophie's Choice," "Ordinary People," "The Way We Were" and "Take the Money and Run." He won his third Oscar for his adaptation of Scott Joplin's music for "The Sting," the signature tune "The Entertainer" regularly heard form ice cream trucks.

Hamlisch received both a Tony and the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for the long-running favorite "A Chorus Line." Hamlisch was scheduled to fly to Nashville, Tennessee, this week to see a production of his musical "The Nutty Professor."

His arguably most famous tune was the one for which he won the 1974 Grammys for best new artist and song of the year, "The Way We Were," as performed by Barbra Streisand.

At the age of seven he entered the Juilliard School of Music, stunning the admissions committee with his renditions of "Goodnight Irene" in any key they desired.

Hamlisch admitted in his autobiography, "The Way I Was," that he lived in fear of not meeting his father's expectations. In his teens, Hamlisch switched from piano recitals to songwriting.

Hamlisch's first important job in the theater was as rehearsal pianist for the Broadway production of "Funny Girl" with Streisand in 1964. He graduated to other shows like "Fade Out-Fade In," "Golden Rainbow" and "Henry, Sweet Henry," and other jobs like arranging dance and vocal music.

"Maybe I'm old-fashioned," he told The Associated Press in 1986. "But I remember the beauty and thrill of being moved by Broadway musicals - particularly the endings of shows. The end of 'West Side Story,' where audiences cried their eyes out. The last few chords of 'My Fair Lady.' Just great."

Hamlisch was working on a new musical, "Gotta Dance," at the time of his death and was scheduled to write the score for a new film on Liberace, "Behind the Candelabra."

He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Terre.

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