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Marvin Hamlisch remembered for musical scores on Broadway and film

The composer, who passed away Monday in California, won multiple awards for his music that was heard on stage and screen.

By Chris TalbotAssociated Press / August 7, 2012

This file photograph, originally released by Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, shows composer Marvin Hamlisch, left, and Barbra Streisand at the Cedars-Sinai Board of Governors Gala at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. Hamlisch, a conductor and award-winning composer best known for the torch song "The Way We Were," died Monday, Aug. 6, in Los Angeles.

Alex J. Berliner, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center/AP/File

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Marvin Hamlisch, who composed or arranged the scores for dozens of movies including "The Sting" and the Broadway smash "A Chorus Line," has died in Los Angeles.

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Hamlisch collapsed and died Monday after a brief illness, his publicist Ken Sunshine said, citing the family. Other details were not released.

Hamlisch's career included composing, conducting and arranging music from Broadway to Hollywood, from symphonies to R&B hits. He won every major award in his career, including three Academy Awards, four Emmys, four Grammys, a Tony and three Golden Globes.

The one-time child prodigy's music colored some of Hollywood and Broadway's most important works.

Hamlisch composed more than 40 film scores, including "Sophie's Choice," ''Ordinary People," ''The Way We Were" and "Take the Money and Run." He won his third Oscar for his adaptation of Scott Joplin's music for "The Sting." His latest work came for Steven Soderbergh's "The Informant!"

On Broadway, Hamlisch received both a Tony and the Pulitzer Prize in 1976 for the long-running favorite "A Chorus Line" and wrote the music for "The Goodbye Girl" and "Sweet Smell of Success." He was scheduled to fly to Nashville, Tenn., this week to see a production of his musical "The Nutty Professor," Sunshine said.

Hamlisch even reached into the pop world, writing the No. 1 R&B hit "Break It to Me Gently" with Carole Bayer Sager for Aretha Franklin. He won the 1974 Grammys for best new artist and song of the year, "The Way We Were," performed by Barbra Streisand.

"He was classic and one of a kind," Franklin said Tuesday after learning of his death, calling him one of the "all time great" arrangers and producers. "Who will ever forget 'The Way We Were'?"

Hamlisch's interest in music started early. At the age of 7 he entered the Juilliard School of Music, stunning the admissions committee with his renditions of "Goodnight Irene" in any key they desired.

In his autobiography, "The Way I Was," Hamlisch admitted that he lived in fear of not meeting his father's expectations. "By the time Gershwin was your age, he was dead," the Viennese-born musician would tell his son. "And he'd written a concerto. Where's your concerto, Marvin?"

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