‘Chorus Line’ Composer Marvin Hamlisch Dies At 68
Tuesday, August 7, 2012
Aired 8/7/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Celebrated stage and film composer Marvin Hamlisch also served as principal pops conductor for the San Diego Symphony.
Marvin Hamlisch, prolific composer of Broadway and motion picture scores, died in Los Angeles on Monday after collapsing from a brief illness, his family said in a statement to the New York Times.
Mr. Hamlisch, whose storied career spanned theater, film, television and recorded music, was best known for his Tony and Pulitzer-winning score for the Broadway musical "A Chorus Line,” in addition to film classics “The Sting,” "Sophie's Choice" and "The Way We Were."
He also wrote music for the Nora Ephron play, "Imaginary Friends," which had its world premiere here in San Diego at The Old Globe before appearing on Broadway in 2002.
As composer, Mr. Hamlisch won three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony, three Golden Globe awards and a Pulitzer Prize.
In 2006, he joined the San Diego Symphony as the principal pops conductor. Ward Gill, CEO of the Symphony, says ticket sales doubled for the Symphony's Pops series under Hamlisch's tenure. Mr. Hamlisch also held the title of principal pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and the Seattle Symphony.
As recently as last month, Mr. Hamlisch was working on a musical adaptation of the Jerry Lewis comedy “The Nutty Professor,” for which he wrote the score. According to the New York Times, he was also working on a new Broadway musical called “Gotta Dance,” and had written the score for a coming HBO movie, “Behind the Candelabra,” about the life of Liberace.
On the importance of music, Mr. Hamlisch stated, "Music can make a difference. There is a global nature to music, which has the potential to bring all people together. Music is truly an international language, and I hope to contribute by widening communication as much as I can."