Marvin Frederick Hamlisch (June 2, 1944 – August 6, 2012) was an American composer. He is one of only eleven people to have been awarded Emmys, Grammys, Oscars, and a Tony. He is also one of only two people to have won those four prizes and also a Pulitzer Prize (the other is Richard Rodgers). Hamlisch has also won two Golden Globes.
Hamlisch is the composer of many motion picture scores, including his Oscar-winning score and song for The Way We Were and his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for The Sting, for which he received a third Oscar. His prolific output of scores for films include original compositions and/or musical adaptations for Sophie’s Choice, Ordinary People, The Swimmer, Three Men And A Baby, Ice Castles, Take The Money And Run, Bananas, Save The Tiger and his latest effort The Informant! (2009) starring Matt Damon, and directed by Steven Soderbergh.
Although Liza Minnelli‘s debut album included a song he wrote in his teens, his first hit did not come until he was 21 years old. This song, “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows“, was sung by Lesley Gore. His first film score was for The Swimmer, although he had done some music for films as early as 1965. Later he wrote music for several Woody Allen early films, such as Take the Money and Run. In addition, Hamlisch co-wrote the song “California Nights” with Howard Liebling, which was recorded by Lesley Gore for her 1967 hit album of the same name. The Bob Crewe-produced single peaked at number 16 on Billboard’s Hot 100 in March 1967, two months after Gore had performed the song on theBatman TV series, in which she guest-starred as an accomplice to Julie Newmar’s Catwoman.
Among his better known works during the 1970s were adaptations of Scott Joplin‘s ragtime music for the motion picture The Sting, including its theme song, “The Entertainer“. He had great success with The Way We Were in 1974, winning two of his three 1974 Academy Awards. He also won four Grammy Awards in 1974, two for “The Way We Were.” He co-wrote “Nobody Does It Better” for the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me with his then-girlfriend Carole Bayer Sager. (John Barry was unable to work in the United Kingdom due to tax reasons.) He also wrote the orchestral/disco score for the film, which was re-recorded for the album. The song went on to be nominated for an Oscar in 1977.
In 2003 Hamlisch appeared in a cameo role (portraying himself) in the film How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.
Marvin Hamlisch died in Los Angeles, California, at age 68 following a brief illness.