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Marvin Hamlisch (1944-2012)

ScoreKeeper here to pay my respects to Marvin Hamlisch who passed away a couple of weeks ago at the age of 68. To be a successful in the film music business you have to be a veritable "swiss-army knife" composer. No matter what the requirement of the job, you can handle it: classical, jazz, pop, folk, or any combination in between.

I can think of no other composer who better fits this description than Marvin Hamlisch. He was a composer for stage and screen, a tunesmith, arranger, a prolific conductor, pianist, and he put his musical stamp on entertainment in almost every possible way conceived. As a film composer, he scored a litany of films including BANANAS (1971), THE WAY WE WERE (1973), THE SPY WHO LOVED ME (1977), ICE CASTLES (1978), SOPHIE'S CHOICE (1982), D.A.R.Y.L. (1985), 3 MEN AND A BABY (1987), and THE MIRROR HAS TWO FACES (1996). On stage he was known for penning the music for A CHOURS LINE (1975), THE GOODBYE GIRL (1993), and THE SWEET SMELL OF SUCCESS (2002). He was the recipient of twelve Academy Award nominations earning three awards for Best Original Dramatic Score for THE WAY WE WERE (1973), Best Original Adapted Score for THE STING (1973), and Best Original Song, "The Way We Were."

Mr. Hamlisch is the first composer who I have had the privilege to interview who has passed away. I had the opportunity to talk with him several years ago about a score of his that I absolute adored...THE INFORMANT! (2009). Hamlisch's film score made my top ten list that year (#9).

These goodbyes are always hard to pen. There's a moment where you start thinking of their career and the gifts left behind and the fact that there will be nothing more from this talented individual. It's a humbling and depressing feeling but one that should be countered with celebration. The best way I know how to do that is through music!

On behalf of Ain't It Cool News, I'd like to extend my deepest sympathies to the Hamlisch family. Thank you Marvin for all your work. You will be sorely missed.

...and thanks again for the great chat we had.










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  • Aug. 20, 2012, 11:24 p.m. CST

    just too think...

    by yourSTEPDADDY

    years ago, we prob had a obit once every 4 months... maybe AICN need to have a dedicated obit section... I doubt Harrys reviews are needed (theyre very few and the few he does, he gets wrong (minus DKR))

  • Aug. 20, 2012, 11:25 p.m. CST

    Loved the informant score...

    by Santiago Charboneau

    Truly brilliant work. Rest in peace.

  • Other great composers I hope you will listen to now and again: David Arnold, Eliot Goldenthal, and Thomas Newman (one of my faves).

  • Aug. 20, 2012, 11:39 p.m. CST


    by ciroslive

    But his score on THE INFORMANT! is the biggest thing I hated about that film. But I'm sure that was more about the director than the composer.

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 12:25 a.m. CST

    Ordinary People too

    by Glenn

    Great adaptation of Pachelbel in that film. Ciroslive, why didn't you like The Informant's music? It was hilarious, it drove the idiocy of the main character home. One of my fave scores in forever, along with Catch Me if You Can.

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 12:39 a.m. CST

    Great work from another great composer, but why the tardy obit?

    by nomihs

    I mean, is this what passes as respect for the deceased? "Hey, you died a couple of weeks ago, but since we are so busy around here reposting other movie site's news, or maybe we were having technical difficulties with our laptops or internet connection, or possibly we were moving into a new house, or otherwise just didn't have the time, we are just getting around to paying respects. Sorry. AICN Staff." To be honest, I know two things about everything there is to know about movies: Jack and Shit, and Jack just left town.

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 12:55 a.m. CST

    Only 68? That's really young to be dying in this day and age...

    by wcolbert

    Even for Americans that's young to keel over (and we're some of the unhealthiest people on Earth, on average, with one of the highest obesity rates) Cancer? :/ I am getting so tired of cancer taking people. It took my favorite author of all time a few years back (Michael Crichton)... grrr

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 1:05 a.m. CST

    diller and windom to get obits in 2017

    by walt

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 1:16 a.m. CST


    by Christian Sylvain

    Great music never dies and as a result, Hamlisch will always live on through his work. May he Rest In Piece.

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 1:39 a.m. CST

    Waiting for the standard douche.......

    by Fart Magnus rock up and crow about famous people dying in threes. God that meme is SO fucking tired.

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 3:31 a.m. CST

    @fart magnus ... in a way you kind of just did that exact thing.

    by Xenodistortion

    You even mentioned that it was a meme. That's double douche points for you. Plus you "SO" sound like a 15 year old girl when you type like that. TRIPLE DOUCHE! *EXPLOSION NOISE* RIP Marvin Hamlisch (2 weeks later).

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 3:51 a.m. CST

    Little bit late on this one...

    by Darkness

    the dude died on august 6th. Anyway, i did like his 70's discotheque of a score for, "The Spy Who Loved Me". I know he was supposed to have been scoring Steven Soderbergh's, "Behind The Candelabra" - Whether or not he wrote anything remains to be seen. Too many deaths going on of late.

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 3:54 a.m. CST

    RIP William Windom...

    by Clio

    For Star Trek fans he was unforgettable as Commodore Decker in the episode: The Doomsday Machine. For me, his small role as sheriff in To Kill A Mockingbird was a gem. I love this line: *I may not be much Mr. Finch, but I'm still sheriff of Macom County, and I say Bob Ewell fell on his knife*

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 4:42 a.m. CST

    by korahn

    No article yet on Phyllis Diller?

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 4:51 a.m. CST

    @by clio

    by Glenn

    That's my favorite line in the whole movie, and it's acted brilliantly. But that was Frank Overton playing the sheriff. William Windom played the Prosecutor, and he was also excellent. So grooves to bofe of 'em. Oh yeah, Windom's thing on Star Trek was one of the best guest starring roles in TV's history, same as Montalban as Khan (I'm actually not much of a trekkie (though I DO know they prefer Trekker). Shit. Maybe I am a Trekkie/Trekker. Time for Ovaltine!

  • Why has that gem of a score not been released on CD yet? I might have to put the DVD on in the background now just to enjoy the music.

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 7:46 a.m. CST

    Brilliant composer. A genius.

    by Pat

    To have written the music he did at such a young age is incredible. He was not even 30 when he wrote The Way We Were. The Sunday prior to his death I was listening to the Bananas score thinking about how versatile this guy could be. The next day he was gone. Glad he's received a proper obit on AICN. Thank you Scorekeeper. Thank you Mr. Hamlisch. Nobody did it better.

  • It doesn't help that the TSWLM score never had a decent release. Nobody Does It Better is definitely one of the most famous Bond title songs, great song that was perfect for the Moore era.

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Ordinary People

    by Brian Hopper

    Extraordinarily subtle and tasteful use of music throughout that film... there's actually very little music in it. Very spare, like the film itself. That's something I really liked about Hamlisch. His work fits the film.

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 1:51 p.m. CST

    To Rumourd

    by Clio're right, it wasn't William Windom who had that great line. And Frank Overton, who did say it, was also a Star Trek guest star, in the episode: This Side of Paradise

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 2:11 p.m. CST


    by Darth Busey

    1. Goldfinger 2. For Your Eyes Only 3. Live And Let Die 4. Nobody Does It Better 5. A View To A Kill The Moore movies were obviously worse than the Connery movies, but the Moore title songs en masse blow away the Connery ones.

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 5:18 p.m. CST

    And that makes three.

    by Jason

  • Aug. 21, 2012, 8:39 p.m. CST

    @by clio

    by Glenn

    Frank Overton -- I thought he looked familiar! Glad you could one-up my one-up. Gotta go take a look at that episode now.

  • Aug. 22, 2012, 9:39 a.m. CST

    His score for Bananas is as funny as everything else in that movie

    by SergeantStedenko