Marvin Hamlisch: 1944-2012

The Oscar-winning composer of The Way We Were and The Sting was 68.

by | August 7, 2012 | Comments

Oscar-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch, whose music enlivened films as diverse as The Sting, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Sophie’s Choice, died Monday in Los Angeles after a brief illness. He was 68.

Hamlisch is one of only 11 people to have won the EGOT — that is, an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony (he won a Pulitzer Prize as well). Hamlisch is best known as the composer of A Chorus Line, the wildly popular musical about the hopes and struggles of a group of actors auditioning for a Broadway musical which ran for 15 years on the Great White way and was adapted into a film in 1985.

Born in New York City, Hamlisch was a musical prodigy, and was seven when he was accepted to the Juilliard School of Music. After working as a rehearsal pianist on Broadway in his teens, he focused on songwriting and film scoring; his first big-screen credit was for the 1968 Burt Lanchaster drama The Swimmer. Hamlisch made a splash in 1973 — he won Oscars for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song for The Way We Were and Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation for The Sting, making him just the second person to win three Oscars in one night. Subsequently, Hamlisch composed scores for The Spy Who Loved Me, Ordinary People, Sophie’s Choice, and Three Men and a Baby; his last high-profile work was for Steven Soderbergh’s 2009 dramedy The Informant! He is survived by his wife Terre.