- CHARITY BENEFIT
Theatre has lost two today. “The Way We Were” and “A Chorus Line” composer Marvin Hamlisch and “Hairspray” co-writer Mark O’Donnell. Marvin was a Tony, Grammy, Oscar, Pulitzer Prize winner and he died on Monday in Los Angeles at 68.
Born Marvin Frederick Hamlisch on June 2, 1944, in New York to Jewish parents, a prodigy at 7, he was the youngest student to be accepted at the Juilliard School. His first hit was the Lesley Gore song “Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows. ”He wrote and was the pianist for Barbra Streisand, when, at 19, he became a rehearsal pianist for “Funny Girl.” Hamlisch was the musical director for her 1994 tour and won an Emmy award for his work.
Mr. Hamlisch wrote “Nobody Does It Better,” with lyricist Carole Bayer Sager as well as the theme from the James Bond film “The Spy Who Loved Me” and the No. 1 soul hit for Aretha Franklin, “Break It to Me Gently.”
For films he will be remembered for the Paul Newman hit “The Sting,” by adapting Scott Joplin’s ragtime. He wrote more than 40 movie scores including “Ordinary People,” “Sophie’s Choice” and, most recently, “The Informant.”
After “A Chorus Line,” he penned “They’re Playing Our Song,” in 1979, based on his relationship with Ms. Bayer Sager. Other Broadway shows include “Smile,” “Jean Seberg,” “Sweet Smell of Success” and “Imaginary Friends.”
He just completed the scores for the HBO movie “Behind the Candelabra” based on the life of Liberace and a musical based on the Jerry Lewis film “The Nutty Professor,” which opened in Nashville.
Mr. Hamlisch held the title of principal pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, the Pasadena Symphony and Pops, the Seattle Symphony and the San Diego Symphony.
Hamlisch is survived by his wife Terri Blair, a television broadcaster and producer he married in 1989.
O’Donnell collapsed in the lobby of his apartment complex on the Upper West Side. He was 58 years old.
His other plays include “That’s It, Folks!” ”Fables for Friends,” ”The Nice and the Nasty,” ”Strangers on Earth,” ”Vertigo Park” and the musical “Tots in Tinseltown.”
He wrote two novels, “Getting Over Homer” and “Let Nothing You Dismay,” and published two collections of comic stories, “Elementary Education” and “Vertigo Park and Other Tales.”
He also adapted Georges Feydeau’s “Private Fittings” for the La Jolla Playhouse in California and a symphonic version of “Pyramus and Thisbe” for the Kennedy Center.
An autopsy is scheduled for today.