June 1, 2013


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Marvin Hamlisch at the piano. Courtesy photo 



His first job was as a rehearsal pianist for 'Funny Girl' with Barbara Steisand. Then he got a job with producer Sam Spiegel to play piano at parties. 

His favorite musicals were 'My Fair Lady, 'Gypsy', 'West Side Story', and 'Bye Bye Bye Birdie'. His first film score was for 'The Swimmer'. Hamlisch really took off, as he wrote numerous music for Woody Allen films such as 'Take the Money and Run and 'Bananas'. 

In the 1970's their were adaptations of Scott Joplin's ragtime music for the movie 'The Sting'. In the eighties there was the score for 'Oridinary People' and everyone heard the enormous music for Sophie's Choice. 

Later he received an Academy Award nomination for the Film version of the very successful "A Chorus Line". He worked with Matt Damon and Steven Soderbergh for the movie "Informant'. Among many, many great music that Hamlisch brought to the world -- he ended with the HBO movie 'Behind the Candelabra'. He also directed that movie by Soderbergh, Damon and Douglas. It recently played for one night on the big screen at the Castro Theatre. The movie is still on HBO. 

Hamlisch won an Emmy Award, Grammy Award and the Oscar and Tony Awards. He also earned ten Golden Globe Award nominations. One of his biggest hits in 1974 was "The Way We Were". 

Marvin Hamlisch died too soon on August 6, 2012, in Los Angeles. He was only 68 years old when he died. We are grateful for all the wonderful years of music and talent he brought to us. The last time that I saw him in person was not long ago at the fantastic Venetian Room. "They're Playing Our Song" is still in all of our minds. We miss him very much at the Fairmont Hotel. I will never forget him for the wonderful times.

THE TRIBUTE WILL TAKE PLACE AT THE FAIRMONT VENETIAN ROOM - Sunday June 2, 2013.The Gala evening in 'Tribute' to Hamlisch will be Lisa Vroman, Karen Mason, Billy Stritch, Bobby Cone Thornton, Academy Award-winning songwriters Alan and Marilyn Bergman and other guests to be announced. Bay Area Cabaret will conclude its 2012-2013 season by honoring the memory of Marvin Hamlisch with selections from his work 'A Chorus Line', 'The Way We Were', and 'They're Playing Our Song' are just a few of the wonderful music that will be heard at the Hamlisch Tribute. This is a Don't Miss! Get your tickets now. 

(((Lee Hartgrave has contributed many Articles to the San Francisco Chronicle Sunday Datebook and he has also produced and hosted a Long-Running Arts segment on PBS-KQED))) 

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