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June 2: Marvin Hamlisch

June 2, 2014

hamlischComposer and theatrical magic-making Marvin Hamlisch, the only person apart from Richard Rodgers to have won an Oscar, a Tony, a Grammy, and an Emmy as well as a Pulitzer Prize (not to mention two Golden Globes), was born to immigrants from Vienna in Manhattan on this date in 1944. Hamlisch was a musical prodigy whose first job in the industry was as a rehearsal pianist for Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand in 1964; his first hit song (cowritten with Howard Liebling) was “Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows,” recorded by Lesley Gore; his first film score was for The Swimmer, starring Burt Lancaster; and later film scores included Woody Allen’s Take the Money and Run and Bananas as well as The Sting and The Way We Were. Hamlisch was best known, however, for composing the music for A Chorus Line (1975), one of Broadway’s longest-running shows, for which he shared the Pulitzer in 1976. He also worked as the pops conductor for several American orchestras and as the director of several Barbra Streisand television specials before his death at 68 in 2012. To see a short PBS trailer about Hamlisch, look below.

“I still have great faith in what is good and right in all of us.” —Marvin Hamlisch