MARVIN HAMLISCH Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: Marvin Frederick Hamlisch                                                                   
Born: 2 June 1944 New York City, New York, U.S.                                                   
Marvin Frederick Hamlisch (born June 2, 1944) is a multi award-winning American                   
composer. He is one of only two people in history (the other being Richard                         
Rodgers) to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, a Tony and the Pulitzer Prize.                   
Hamlisch was born in New York City, the son of Viennese Jewish parents Lily (née                 
Schachter) and Max Hamlisch. His was a musical family with his father being                       
an accordionist and bandleader. Marvin Hamlisch was a child prodigy and by age                     
five he began mimicking music he heard on the radio on the piano. A few months                     
before he turned seven, in 1951, he became the youngest person ever accepted to                   
the Juilliard School. However anxiety issues kept him from pursuing a career as                   
a concert pianist leading him to instead focus on composition, specifically for                   
film and theater. His first job in "the business" was as a rehearsal pianist for                   
Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand. Shortly after that he was hired by producer                     
Sam Spiegel to play piano at Spiegel's parties. This connection led to his first                   
film score, The Swimmer.                                                                           
Hamlisch later attended night classes at Queens College. He received his                           
Bachelor of Arts degree in 1968. In 2007, he received the prestigious Q Award,                     
presented to Queens College alumni who have served as role models for the                         
Although Liza Minnelli's debut album included a song he did in his teens, his                     
first hit did not come until he was 21 years old. This song was done by Lesley                     
Gore, in the form of Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows. (The song, in Lesley                       
Gore's version, later figured prominently in the "Marge on the Lam" episode of                     
The Simpsons) His first film score was for The Swimmer although he had done some                   
music for films as early as 1965. Later he did music for some of Woody Allen's                     
early films like Take the Money and Run. In addition, Hamlisch co-wrote the song                   
"California Nights" with Howard Liebling, which was recorded by Lesley Gore on                     
her 1967 hit album titled the same. The song was on the pop charts as high as                     
number 16.                                                                                         
Marvin Hamlisch on TV's The Match Game                                                             
The 1970s would be his peak period as a composer. This is most true of the first                   
half of the decade. The best known work he did in this period might be                             
adaptations of Scott Joplin's ragtime music for the motion picture The Sting,                     
including its theme song, "The Entertainer". In award terms he had his greatest                   
success with The Way We Were in 1974. For that he won two of his three 1974                       
Academy Awards. He also won 4 Grammy Awards in 1974, two of them for "The Way We                   
Were." He continued having hits in the late 1970s after this. He co-wrote "Nobody                 
Does It Better" from the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me with his then-girlfriend       
Carole Bayer Sager. He also wrote the orchestral/disco score for the film, which                   
was rerecorded for album. The song went on to be nominated for an Oscar in 1977.                   
He also had Broadway success with A Chorus Line (for which he won both a Tony                     
Award and a Pulitzer Prize), They're Playing Our Song (loosely based on his                       
relationship with Carole Bayer Sager), and a score for a Neil Simon play.                         
Although productive the 1980s were a less successful period for him. On balance                   
the decade was arguably his least successful period. At the very beginning of                     
the decade his romantic relationship with Carole Bayer Sager ended, but their                     
songwriting relationship continued. In 1983 the musical Jean failed in the                         
United Kingdom and never appeared in the US. In 1986 Smile was a mixed success,                   
but he did gain some note for the song Disneyland. He won no awards in music,                     
theater, or film during the 1980s.                                                                 
In the 1980s he had success with the scores for Ordinary People (1980) and                         
Sophie's Choice (1982). He also received an Academy Award nomination in 1986 for                   
a song in the film version of A Chorus Line. He married his current wife in 1989.                 
The Sting: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack                                                     
The 1990s saw something of an improvement if not a return to the fame he once                     
had in the 1970s. He received his first Emmy nomination for his musical work for                   
the television show Brooklyn Bridge. Later he won his first Emmy for a Barbra                     
Streisand special. He also received a Tony nomination for music in a musical                       
version of The Goodbye Girl.                                                                       
Currently, he is Principal Pops Conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra,                   
the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra (the first                     
person to hold this position), the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, and the San                       
Diego Symphony.                                                                                   
He is one of only twelve people to win all four major US performing awards, Emmy                   
Award, Grammy Award, the Oscar and Tony Award. (See List of people who have won                   
an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. He and Richard Rodgers are the                       
only two to have won all four of those plus a Pulitzer Prize.                                     
He was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame in 2007.