I don’t know if Marvin Hamlisch died from cancer. Every thing I’ve heard today, explains it as a short illness that took his life. What I do know is America lost one of its great composers today. This man was a gift to the world.
How many of us walked down the street today singing a Marvin Hamlisch song? It’s important to remember this man. He was special.
I met him just a couple of months ago at the Cine Awards presentation at the French Embassy. I was producing the event and he was receiving the Legends Award; the first one ever given by Cine. I was lucky enough to sit with him and talk about his music and his love of San Diego. He always made a summer concert stop in my home town. He’d conduct the orchestra and play some of his famous songs in an outdoor setting overlooking the San Diego Bay. It was always a standing ovation kind of performance. The audience never wanted him to stop playing. That was fine by him, no one was more at home on a piano bench that Marvin Hamlisch.
He loved making music.
Even that night at the embassy, before accepting his award, he sat down and played the piano with gusto. He played the first piece he ever wrote; a little Christmas tune he composed when he was 7 years old. He laughed when he told the story of how he’d played it for his dad, thinking he’d be so proud of his son. But instead, his father, who was a religious man, questioned Marvin; asking him” How could a nice Jewish boy write a song about Christmas? ” Marvin laughed and said he promised his dad, he would do better next time. And I guess you could say he kept his promise.
He collected Emmys, Oscars, Grammys, a Tony and a Pulitzer.
Marvin Hamlisch….One Singular Sensation.