We lost a giant yesterday; a literal (he was super tall) and figurative giant.
Marvin Hamlisch, who passed away yesterday at the what-the-heck age of 68, was one of only 11 people who have walked this earth who “hit for the cycle” . . . which is my way to describe his EGOT status. Yep, he won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and a Tony. (And a Pulitzer, by the by – and only Richard Rodgers shares that cycle of awards!)
And despite all that he’s done, he still loved to work . . . and his brand new score to The Nutty Professor, which is on its way to Broadway, is being performed in Nashville right now.
You can see why I think giant isn’t even a big enough word to describe him. It should be more like . . . “Giaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant.”
I met him on a few occasions around town, and he was always warm with a smile and a handshake. And frankly, he made you feel like you were just talking to an average guy from the neighborhood, instead of talking to an EGOT who was accepted to Julliard’s pre-college division at seven, and eventually worked with everyone from Liza to Barbra, and f’in wrote A Chorus Line . . . hello!
In fact, super early in my producing career I threw a Hail Mary pass to John Breglio, his attorney, and asked if Marvin would be interested in writing the score to Somewhere In Time. John said he’d check but he wasn’t optimistic because of his . . . oh . . . thousand other projects with everyone from Liza to Barbra.
Well, the very next day, Marvin called. (I’ll never forget the look on my staffer’s face when he said, “Uh, Ken? Marvin Hamlisch is on the phone for you.”) And he was delightful . . . and kept saying how honored he was to be thought of for the project, but he didn’t think he could work it in. But, “Thanks, Ken. Thanks so much.”
Um, thank you, Marvin. Thank you for every single note. You’re one of the few people that built a bridge between Broadway and Hollywood and Pop Music, for that matter, and our ears and our hearts are so much more filled because of it.
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