Marvin Hamlisch, the stage and screen composer who scored countless cultural masterpieces such as “A Chorus Line” and “The Way We Were,” passed away at the age of 68 in Los Angeles after a brief battle with an illness.
Hamlisch was one of the few entertainers to obtain the coveted EGOT – winning an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award. In addition to these, Hamlisch also won a Pulitzer Prize – one of only two people in history to attain all five commendations.
Born in Manhattan, Hamlisch exhibited musical genius from a very young age. He was accepted to Julliard’s Pre-College Division and worked as a rehearsal pianist on the production of “Funny Girl,” starring Barbara Streisand, who. he worked with at various points throughout his career.
In 1967, Hamlisch graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
“Everyone in the Queens College family mourns the passing of American music icon Marvin Hamlisch. His experience at Queens College echoes that of many of our current students—he was a young man from humble beginnings who benefited from a dedicated faculty, and then went on to make great contributions to his field,” said Queens College President James Muyskens.
Hamlisch’s best known screen compositions include music for “The Sting,” starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford; “Sophie’s Choice” with Meryl Streep; and the 1977 James Bond film, “The Spy Who Loved Me.” The Bond movie’s theme song, “Nobody Does It Better,” performed by Carly Simon, became a radio sensation.
The musician also received an Academy Award nomination in 1986 for the film version of the Broadway hit “A Chorus Line” – centered around the lives of dancers during a tense and somewhat revealing audition — for which he wrote popular songs like “One,” “Dance: Ten; Looks: Three” and “What I Did For Love.”
Recently, Hamlisch joined director Steven Soderbergh to compose music for the 2009 film “The Informant!” In 2011, Hamlisch became the lead conductor of the Pasadena Pops and occasionally conducted the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra and San Diego Symphony.