- CHARITY BENEFIT
Marvin Hamlisch would have been proud he played to a star-studded full house. All that was missing was the applause and the standing ovation. Temple Emmanu-El the synagogue on 65th and 5th was the in place to be, yet it held within its walls, the end of an era. In 1937 Temple Emmanu-El was where George Gershwin’s funeral was held.
Ex-Yankees manager Joe Torre was among the honorary pal bearers. Over 2,000 attendees included; Kelly Bishop, Former President Bill Clinton, Tony Danza, Raul Esparza, Richard Gere, Kathie Lee Gifford, Richard Kagan, Robert Klein, cosmetics executive Leonard Lauder, Priscilla Lopez, Ann-Margret, Donna McKechnie, Liza Minnelli, (who flew in from LA after a sold out Hollywood Bowl concert,) Brian Stokes Mitchell, Mike Nichols, Kelli O’Hara, Bernadette Peters, philanthropist Lily Safra, Liz Smith, Billy Stritch, Sony head Howard Stringer, newswoman Diane Sawyer, Leslie Uggams (“He wrote me a song called ‘Can You Tell Me That I’m Lonely’ when I was 12,”), Daily News chairman and publisher Mortimer B. Zuckerman and oh so many more. The reporters like birds to a feast sat with pencils and pens posed.
Beginning with a choir of 600 Broadway and top recording voices singing. Lucie Arnaz, Rupert Holmes and Sheldon Harnick sang “The Way We Were,” Idina Menzel singing “At the Ballet,” ending with “What I Did for Love.”
Hamlisch was working on a new musical, “Gotta Dance,” at the time of his death. He was scheduled to write the score for the new Soderbergh film on Liberace, “Behind the Candelabra,” starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon. In Nashville, Tenn., the Tennessee Performing Arts Center is producing his new musical production of “The Nutty Professor,” directed by Jerry Lewis.
Hamlisch’s widow, Terre, called him an unsung humanitarian who’d never say no to anyone. Today nobody said no to him as statements of mourning were read from President Barack Obama and former first lady Nancy Reagan. Everybody got into the act. Hamlisch, I am sure, was beaming from that great audience in the sky.