American Masters (2013 Season) – Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love

Marvin Hamlisch Biography & Awards

Air date: 12/27/2013

American Masters Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love


Premieres nationally Friday, December 27 at 9 p.m. on PBS

(check local listings)


Biography & Awards


Marvin Hamlisch (June 2, 1944 – Aug. 6, 2012)


Marvin Hamlisch’s life in music is notable for its great versatility as well as substance.

As composer, Hamlisch won virtually every major award that exists: three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globe awards.

For Broadway he wrote the music for his groundbreaking show, A Chorus Line, which received the Pulitzer Prize, as well as They’re Playing Our Song, The Goodbye Girl and Sweet Smell of Success. He also wrote the musical scores for: Jean Seberg (1983 National Theatre, London) and Nutty Professor Musical (2012 TPAC, Nashville, TN) — these two musicals have never been produced on Broadway.

He was the composer of more than 40 motion picture scores, including his Oscar-winning score and song for The Way We Were and his adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for The Sting, for which he received a third Oscar. His prolific output of scores for films include original compositions and/or musical adaptations for Sophie’s Choice, Ordinary People, The Swimmer, Three Men and a Baby, Ice Castles, Take the Money and Run, Bananas, Save the Tiger, and The Informant!, starring Matt Damon, and directed by Steven Soderbergh.

At the time of his passing he had just finished his last musical score for film, Behind the Candelabra about Liberace, starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon and directed by Steven Soderbergh. The film was shown at the 2013 Cannes Festival and aired on HBO in May 2013, to great reviews.

Hamlisch was musical director and arranger of Barbra Streisand’s 1994 concert tour of the U.S. and England as well as of the television special, Barbra Streisand: The Concert, for which he received two of his Emmys.

Marvin Hamlisch held the position of principal pops conductor for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestra, Pasadena Symphony and Pops, Seattle Symphony, San Diego Symphony, The Buffalo Philharmonic, and The National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. At the time of his death he was preparing to assume responsibilities as Principal Pops Conductor for The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Hamlisch was a graduate of the Juilliard School of Music and Queens College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree. He believed in the power of music to bring people together. “Music can make a difference. There is a global nature to music, which has the potential to bring all people together. Music is truly an international language, and I hope to contribute by widening communication as much as I can.” Marvin Hamlisch

Marvin Hamlisch Awards

Academy Awards

  • 1973 Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation The Sting
  • 1973 Best Original Song The Way We Were
  • 1973 Best Original Dramatic Score The Way We Were


Emmy Awards

  • 2001 Outstanding Music Direction Timeless: Live in Concert
  • 1999 Outstanding Music and Lyrics AFI’s 100 Years… 100 Movies
  • 1995 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music and Lyrics Barbra Streisand: The Concert
  • 1995 Outstanding Individual Achievement in Music Direction Barbra Streisand: The Concert


Tony Awards

  • 1975 Drama Category A Chorus Line


Grammy Awards

  • 1974 Best New Artist
  • 1974 Best Pop Instrumental Performance The Entertainer
  • 1973 Album of Best Original Score Written for a Motion Picture or a Television Special The Way We Were performed by Barbra Streisand
  • 1974 Song Of The Year The Way We Were performed by Barbra Streisand


Golden Globe Awards

  • 1974 Best Original Song The Way We Were performed by Barbra Streisand
  • 1972 Best Original Song Life Is What You Make It


Pulitzer Awards

  • ·         1975 Best Original Score Written for the Theatre A Chorus Line