What he did for love.

I mean, I really don’t even know how to write this one.

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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  • Kathleen says:

    So sad for all of us who loved him and his enormous contribution to the enrichment of our lives. Prayers for his family

  • He will truly be missed in the American Art Culture, but what a life and legacy. RIP!

  • Lois Jacobs says:

    A real mench and a giant in music. Mr. Hamlisch will be missed. A classy guy who always made his performances fun and welcoming in concert.

  • Nancy says:

    Well said, Ken ! RIP, gentle “Giaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaant.”

  • Wow. He called you back himself just to say “thank you but no thank you?” Class act. There are professionals at all levels of the industry that could take a lesson from him.

  • Scott says:

    I had the Honor of meeting him during the intermission of “Next To Normal” in NYC. I thanked him for all his gifts to the world of music and asked him what he thought of the show. He said “I wish I had Written It”. He really acted like such a normal humble Guy and was very appreciative, if not surprised, by the attention.

    I great Composer, who’s music will live on Forever. I know there is a Broadway Review in Here Somewhere!!

  • Michael L. says:

    Thanks for a moving tribute, Ken.

  • Paula says:

    I couldn’t believe what I read on the computer this
    morning. I saw him perform and conduct many times at
    different places. I sat across the aisle from him at a
    performance of Movin’ Out. I thanked him for all the
    beautiful music he gave to us. Graciously, he said,”Thank you!” A couple of times at Tilles Center,
    Long Island University, he composed songs on the spot.
    We’ve lost a musical genius. However, we gained all the treasures he has left behind. My condolences to the family and all of us who are saddened by his
    passing. Yes, and thank you Ken for your tribute.

  • Ilene Argento says:

    Lovely tribute and anecdotes, Ken. I found myself watching YouTube snips from A Chorus Line until 2am. His music changed my life. I even used songs from They’re Playing My Song for auditions! I still can’t believe it … I keep waiting for him to show up and say “just kidding!”

  • Jamisa says:

    I didn’t know Marvin. I only was a huge fan of his work but his contributions to music theatre and to the world of theatre/film are beyond unmatched. He will be sorely missed

  • “On Tuesday morning, I heard that Marvin Hamlisch had died. And I dug right down to the bottom of my soul…and cried! For I felt…something….” 🙁

  • So very sorry for music’s loss.I had met him in Westhampton at the Performing Arts
    Center there.He was their opening show. He had a home in the area. And I have a photograph with him.
    Demetria Daniels

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