The Madeleine Brand Show is a daily, two-hour program that looks at news and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by Madeleine Brand

Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch dies at 68

Listen to story

Download this story 1MB

You may have never heard of Marvin Hamlisch. But you've no doubt heard his music.

The genius behind "A Chorus Line," "The Way We Were" and "The Spy Who Loved Me" died in Los Angeles yesterday at the age of 68.

The film and theater composer won dozens of awards throughout his career, including three Academy Awards, four Grammies and even a Pulitzer. His third Oscar award was for his adaptation of Scott Joplin's music for the 1973 film, "The Sting."

That same year he worked with Barbara Streisand on "The Way We Were." Last year, he spoke with Larry Mantle about working with her.

"As a performer, the most important thing you want to do is make sure the performer is absolutely content and happy. It is like, if you ever watched a woman buy shoes, they try 27 pairs, but they find one that they love and they buy 27 of those. But in the beginning, they try everything. This is wrong, the color is wrong, the last is wrong. And eventually they find the shoe. That's how you have to make sure the performer feels," he said.

Hamlisch worked on Broadway, in television and composed the scores for dozens of films, including "Ordinary People," "Sophie's Choice" and "Take the Money and Run."

The composer was working up until his death. He was the conductor for orchestras in multiple cities, including Pasadena and San Diego, and was also writing the music for a new HBO film starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon about the life of Liberace.