Marvin Hamlisch, Oscar-winning film score composer and pops symphony conductor, passed away unexpectedly on Monday after a brief illness and reported collapse. He was 68.
In today’s pop culture, Marvin Hamlisch is a name that many might recognize without knowing why—but he shaped pop culture in a multitude of ways. Perhaps best recognized as a film composer, he wrote musical scores for over 40 films in as many years, the most notable of which include The Sting, The Way We Were, Sophie’s Choice and A Chorus Line (both the film and the Broadway production). Hamlisch is one of only a handful of people to have won the “EGOT” collection of awards (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony), and had one multiple awards for most of these. He is also the only other person besides Richard Rogers to have also won a Pulitzer Prize on top of EGOT.
Hamlisch was also active as the principal pops conductor for no less than six major symphony orchestras across the nation (Pasadena, Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, San Diego, Dallas and Seattle), and was to be announced next week as the principal pops conductor for a seventh (Philadelphia), according to the Los Angeles Times.
Little is currently known about the events surrounding Hamlisch’s death, except that he had been briefly ill and was otherwise believed to be in good health. He had just signed a 3-year renewal contract with the Pasadena Symphony, was slated to conduct the New York Philharmonic this upcoming New Year’s Eve, and reportedly had a number of other projects on the burner. His sudden passing is currently sending shock waves through the entertainment community. His influence will no doubt be felt for generations to come, and he will be greatly missed.
(Photo credit: Shel Secunda)