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Hamlisch, Marvin


HAMLISCH, MARVIN (1944– ), U.S. composer and arranger. Born in New York City, Hamlisch was the youngest student (at age seven) ever admitted to the Juilliard School of Music (which he attended until 1964). He is the composer and/or arranger of music scores for such films as The Swimmer (1968), Take the Money and Run (1969), Bananas (1971), Save The Tiger (1973) and Kotch (1971). In 1974 Hamlisch became the first individual to receive three Academy Awards in one night – one for best scoring of The Sting, one for best original dramatic score for the film The Way We Were, and one for best original song, "The Way We Were." He also received four Grammys for his work on The Sting. Hamlischalso won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award for writing the script and composing the score of the Broadway musical A Chorus Line (1975).

His musical scores for other Broadway productions include They're Playing Our Song (1979), Shirley Maclaine on Broadway (1984), Smile (1987), The Goodbye Girl (1993), Sweet Smell of Success (2002), and Imaginary Friends (2003). Written by Neil Simon, They're Playing Our Song was based on the personal and professional relationship between Hamlisch and his long-time collaborator, lyricist Carole Bayer Sager. It was nominated for four Tony Awards, among them Best Musical.

Hamlisch also wrote the music for such films as The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975), The Spy Who Loved Me (1977), Ice Castles (1978), Starting Over (1979), Chapter Two (1979), Gilda Live (1980), Ordinary People (1980), Seems Like Old Times (1980), Pennies from Heaven (1981), Sophie's Choice (1982), Three Men and a Baby (1987), January Man (1989), Shirley Valentine (1989), Missing Pieces (1991), Open Season (1996), and The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996).

In addition to his work as a composer, Hamlisch is the principal pops conductor with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, d.c. He is the first person to hold such a position with either of those orchestras. In 1992 Hamlisch published his memoirs, The Way I Was (with G. Gardner).

add. bibliography:

D. Flinn, What They Did for Love (1989); G. Stevens and A. George, The Longest Line: Broadway's Most Singular SensationA Chorus Line (1995).

[Jonathan Licht /

Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]

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