Barbra speaks on the passing of her friend, Marvin Hamlisch

  “I’m devastated. He was my dear friend. He’s been in my life ever since the first day I met him in 1963, when he was my rehearsal pianist for “Funny Girl.” He played at my wedding in 1998… and recently for me at a benefit for women’s heart disease. The world will remember Marvin for his brilliant musical accomplishments, from “A Chorus Line” to “The Way We Were,” and so many others, but when I think of him now, it was his brilliantly quick mind, his generosity, and delicious sense of humor that made him a delight to be around. Just last night, I was trying to reach him, to tell him how much I loved him, and that I wanted to use an old song of his, that I had just heard for the first time. He was a true musical genius, but above all that, he was a beautiful human being. I will truly miss him.”    Barbra Streisand


 

90 comments

    • R.I.P. Marvin. You were one of my greatest influences through Barbras music as well as your numerous Broadway productions and films, particularly “The Sting”. I will sing some of your songs in my next upcoming concerts in Florida. May your beautiful Neshamah have an Aliyah, and rise to the highest of the most high. G-d bless you, Sha-Ron.

  1. Still cry every time I hear The Way We Were.… always will. Thank you for giving us so much beautiful music ans songs that carried us through the highs and lows in our lives. You will be missed. God speed.

  2. Thanks, Mr. Hamlisch, for some of the greatest music I’ve ever heard. The soundtrack from “A Chorus Line” is one of my all-time favorites…and I’ll always think of you each time I hear it. Sleep well, my friend.

  3. it was his music that got me interested in piano and enjoyed Mr. H as a personality as well. His art and entertainment will be greatly missed, rest now!

  4. My sincere thank you to the family of Marvin for the true gift he was to so many. We will miss his beautiful talent. Sincerley, Len and Albert

  5. I was privileged to attend your concert with Idina Menzel at Koerner Hall last year. I never thought I would see such a legend and gifted artist. Thank you for your beautiful melodies and the legacy that will be for all to marvel at. My sincerest and deepest sympathies to your family.

    Robert

  6. Life may end, but the music will go on forever.… and Mr. Hamlisch’s compositions will stand the test of time.

  7. My candle burns at both ends.
    It will not last the night.
    But, o my foes and o my friends,
    It gives a glorious light!”
    This poet — I believe it was Edna St.Vincent Millay — must have had prodigies like Mr. Hamlisch in mind when she wrote these lines. His talent certainly burned bright.

  8. I was shocked to hear about Mr. Hamlisch’s sudden death. We were at Queens College together. His prolific work was extraordinary and made the lives of all who heard it, a little richer. Thank you, Mr. Hamlisch, for an extraordinary life and gift.

  9. My deepest condolences to Mrs. Hamlisch. Thank you for sharing your incredible husband with the world. Listening to Chorus Line will be different now. Oseh shalom.

  10. I saw Mr. Hamlisch in Ottawa, Canada. I chose to go to the concert alone so that I could take in every note without interruption. He was playing all of the beautiful music he composed over the years…it was truly one of my most memorable times spent and when he played “The Way We Were”, which is my all time favorite song,it brought tears to my eyes. Mr. Hamlisch was truly one of the most gifted composers and pianists of our time. His death was far too soon and a huge loss for so many…

  11. the air left my body when I heard of this tragic loss today. I’m a long time fan. My Aunt and Uncle took me to a Hamlish musical long ago — and have recognized/loved his music, talents and appreciated his amazing gifts since.
    Love to his family and friends.

  12. We want to thank you Mr Hamlisch for the wonderful talent that you are and the beautiful music that will always be here for us to enjoy. We have been together since high school and your music was always there for us. Are thoughts are with your family and friends at this sad time. Thank You for the Music!!

  13. Mr Hamlisch The world has lost a beautiful man today. I remember sitting in Heinz Hall in pittsburgh and every time being absorbed by your performances. Not only in your music but your wit and kindness with a bit of comedy. You are and will be missed. Sleep well my brother!! I hope Barbara will give your farewell performance, only fitting.….….

  14. I know that you were a sweet,kind,caring musical genius and I am sad to know that you are no longer here with me in this life. God bless your beautiful soul Marvin. May your wife and loved ones be comforted.

  15. Dear Mr. Hamlisch–

    Just heard of your passing and know that your music gave us heaven on earth, and now God has asked you to return to HIm and play a special concert for Him. Returning to God tells us your job is done here, but we will hear your music again when our jobs are complete here. In the meantime, enjoy and rest with God and your loved ones passed on before you in peace!

  16. Your Music came to me at a time that I also fell in love with the movies. The two where one…for me. When I hear your scores…I fall in love…again. Thank you Sir.

  17. Your beautiful music and presence will be greatly missed; I went to Barbra’s Detroit Concert in 1994 with Mr. Hamlish brilliantly conducting her orchestra. That night, I felt I was in the presence of 2 musical legends and though I’ve seen 2 more of Barbra’s concerts, the first one with Mr. Hamlish directing the orchestra remains my very favorite. I am so sad to learn of his passing and send prayers to his wife, family, Barbra and others who knew and loved him Such a beautiful man and such a great loss

  18. I remember you singing for your supper, playing the piano for my mother when we were counselors at Ted Mack Camp and got away once a week for a good, home cooked meal. You were an unassuming, funny friend. You went on to accomplish amazing things. I will treasure you music always. Rest in peace, Marvin.

    • I went to Ted Mack Camp too. My father “Doc” was the camp director. Marvin wrote a song “I’m in Love with Mrs. Freeman”,she was my mother and camp nurse.

      Do you remember him singing it in the chow hall for her?

      I was just over 10 y/o.

      Marvin was a sweet man.

  19. Pittsburgh is deeply saddened by the passing of Mr. Hamlisch. His talent and humorous personality was so uplifting. He touched so many hearts. He will be missed.

  20. You have blessed so many of us with your awesome music. So glad for our backstage reunion at the Rose Bowl last year here in Pasadena, almost 38 years after we worked in a pre-Broadway show in NY, and the wonderful warm hello, hug, photo and memories backstage. You have done so much for so many since then in NY, but I know you will love the many “tribes, tongues, and nations” up there in your new musical orchestra site. Joan

  21. I remember seeing him play The Entertainer while laying on the floor, reaching up to the keyboard! Recently, he judged a Canadian talent program. Funny, talented, artistically generous, inspiring…

  22. Such a wonderful, kind, brilliant human being. I have loved him and his music for years. What joy his talent has brought to the world; he is irreplaceable.

  23. I was so deeply sorry that Mr. Hamlisch died. His music will always be remebered. My personal favorites were Through The Eye of Love and The Way We Were and of course, A Chorus Line.…..His work will live on forever.….He will be greatly missed.….

  24. It was just a month ago, July 8th, when I saw Mr. Hamlisch along with Idina Menzel at Ravinia in the Chicago area. I was shocked and saddened to hear the news of his passing. Thank you, Mr. Hamlisch, for the gift of your amazing talent.

  25. As I watch “A Chorus Line” this coming Friday, 17th August playing here in Sydney. Australia, I would be thinking of Mr. Hamlisch and his passing and the wonderful gift and happiness he has given the world — his music and humanity. Thank you for that “singular sensation” of the gift of music! Rest in Peace!

  26. The world has lost a sensational composer, an engaging entertainer with a delicious sense of humor who gave his all in every performance, a true humanitarian, and a most generous friend. People have no idea that so many of the songs that stay with them, the soundtracks from their favorite films, the pop music, ragtime, and Broadway show tunes they sing over and over – were composed by Marvin Hamlisch. His music touched millions upon millions of lives – reaching down to their soul and elevating their joy.

    A brilliant light may have been extinguished. But his extraordinary repertoire will remain with us forever, to be cherished by generations to come.

  27. Gone too soon. Mr. Hamlisch, thank you for leaving your legacy of amazing musical scores behind. You will live forever in our hearts. May God be with your family in these difficult moments. Shalom.

  28. I only knew Mr Hamlisch through his music. I cannot better Barbra Streisand’s beautiful tribute. The word “Genius” seems to be used so much these days but in this case it is truly justified. Rest in peace, Marvin. Nobody did it better.

  29. Words can’t express how I feel about losing such a great friend and humanitarian. No, I didn’t personally know Mr. Hamlisch. He just made me feel as if I did. His music and generosity elevated humanity. There will never be another Mr. Marvin Hamlsch. Sadness overtakes me.

  30. Mr. Hamlisch…you brought such joy into so many lives with the wonderful music that you gave us. Each of your songs was a gift. Your going to be missed. So sad to know we will not be blessed with any more of your music. Rest In Peace.

  31. Me too, Barbra. His music will stay in my heart and head the rest of my life. We have lost a great man much too soon. We will miss him tremendously. I hope that when I see you in Vancouver, BC at the end of Oct. you will sing a medley of his songs starting with the beautiful “The Way We Were”. That would be a great tribute to him and his legacy.

    My condolences to Marvin’s wife, Terre, and their friends. We grieve with you.

    Rest in peace, Marvin. We love you!

  32. I cannot believe it. I saw him in London less than a year ago when he performed in Soho and he was totally incredible. His songs will be in my world forever. What talent. He was too young.

  33. I WAS FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO SEEMARVIN HAMLISH BEING INTERVIEWED ON TV HE WAS SOMETHING ELSE.YOU ONLY HAVE TO SEE THAT HE WENT TO THE JULIARD SCOOL OF MUSIC AT 7 YEARS OLD TO KNOW IT WAS THE START OF THE CAREER OF GENIUS.A VERY SAD TIME.

  34. I saw Marvin Hamlish in London when he was the conductor for Barbra Streisan at her renowed 1994 cocerttour.
    A Chorusline was the first Broadwayshow i ever saw , and i saw it twice in one week.
    That was in 1979 .
    It was marvelous , he was marvelous.
    We all will greatly miss him.
    What a loss.

  35. I feel a family loss with the passing of Mr.Hamlisch.A true genius that brought so much joy to the world.R.I.P.
    Your music will forever live

  36. Marvin,
    We were friends in Juilliard and throughout Queens College in the Music Department. For some reason,we lost touch, but I never forgot the good times and laughs we had together. I am truly struck by your passing.
    May God grant peace to your family,
    Sammy

  37. A Chorus Line was the first Broadway show that I had the privilege to attend. The whole experience was electrifying for me. I will never forget it . Mister Hamlich will truly be missed.

  38. Marvin Hamlish is in Heaven entertaining “A Chorus Line” of angels.
    Thank you so very much for sharing your love of music, your creative genius, and your love for life with us in Pittsburgh. We miss you.
    We have wonderful memories of you and treasure the time you shared us.
    You and your family are in our thoughts and prayers.

    Joe

  39. I always read up on Mr. Hamslisch because he was involved at our cathedral in New Castle Pa and always was going to go to a concert but never made the time but now I wish I did because I really enjoyed his music.

    Rest in Peace Mr. Hamslisch

    HG

  40. To quote songwriter Diane Warren: “The angels have beautiful melodies to sing now.” Broadway and Hollywood will never be the same. Mr. Hamlisch, you are SO missed.

  41. God gives to each a talent to be shared with all. To some He blesses abundantly.
    Thank you, Lord for your blessings. Thank you Marvin for sharing with all of us.

  42. I feel so sad. Mr. Hamlisch was so talented, yet so funny and down to earth. I grew up with him and will always cherish his gorgeous music. I regret I never got to see him in person, but always tuned into a program that featured him. Condolences to his wife, family — and many good friends. Such a good person, delightful person. I’ll keep playing his songs…thank you so very much for sharing your smile, your wit, your talents with us, Mr. Hamlisch.

  43. Your soundtracks to Woody Allen’s films are masterpieces. The first song in “Take the Money and Run” is pure genius, complicated, and masterful. Thank you!

  44. I saw Marvin Hamlish for the first time when he was in London as the conducter of the orchestra that played for Barbra Streisand in 1994.
    And i saw A chorusline in 1979 in New York on Broadway twice in one week , it was marvelous.
    I am hooked on it ever since.
    He was great , and will be greatly missed by all of us.
    What a loss!!!!

  45. Dear Hamlisch Family: This year my wife Joan and I was fortunate enough to see Marvin with Idena Menzel at The Greek Theatre. To see he has passed is shocking to us. He was so funny and animated and full of music and life it is a loss to us and the World that his music is silenced. Fortunately his recordings and his creations will live on . Do not let them stop his Nutty Professor musical from going forward ! Artists colaborate and a talented composer can finish it up I know the score was finished. We love you Marvin…The Margolin Family

  46. I only knew Mr Hamlish through his music. I cannot better Barbra Striesand’s beautiful words. Rest in peace, Marvin, a true musical genius. Nobody did it better.

  47. My heart goes out to the family and friends. I will miss Marvin Hamlisch. I adored his music. I loved his playing in Ordinary People too. (Pachelbel Canon in D). R.I.P. He is gone too soon.

  48. Through his beautiful music I have always felt very close to Marvin Hamlisch. He was a “friend” though I never met him. Always wanted to.….Such a good soul and wonderfully witty man — when you love the music you got to love the man — THE WAY WE WERE, THE SWIMMER, SOPHIE´S CHOICE, BANANAS, TAKE THE MONEY AND RUN are among my favorites. Marvin had a really rare sense of romantic and nostalgic melodies. I was in a student production of CHORUS LINE in Munich in 1985 and enjoyed every second of it. I am really sad, and as a very small outlet to ease my feelings I was able to write an obituary for a German film music magazine. Now wonderful memories light the corners of our mind. Thank you, Marvin Hamlisch.

  49. Dear Hamlisch Family: I have the feeling that I have lost a friend. I spent several years at the National Symphony Orchestra “Pops” Concerts at the Kennedy Center sitting in the front row and watched as Marvin conducted that Orchestra. I watched as he had fun with the various artists that also were on stage during those concerts. I also watched as he introduced young aspiring musicians to the stage. He will truly be missed. As someone already stated, “They are making gorgeous music in Heaven”.
    Rest in Peace, Maestro

  50. Marvin’s genius is embodied in his music. He has given the world an incomparable, lasting gift that only he could offer. His concerts were glorious. His genius was equally expressed in his great humanity. He was a preeminently kind, intelligent, funny, self-effacing human being. We mourn his passing and send love and support to Terre, family and other friends.

  51. Marvin was the music counselor at Camps Onibar & Geneva in Lake Como, Pa. in the mid 50’s when I was a camper. He wrote many of the camp songs that were produced for the plays the campers produced as well as the “fight” songs for the annual color war. We had a camp reunion a few years ago at the camp and Marvin attended and wowed the crowd with his piano playing and singing all the camp favorites. We were all kids again! We are planning a mini reunion i NYC in Oct. and we were hoping he would attend. Very sad to hear of his passing but the memories will live on!

    • I was one of the lucky girls whose music counselor was Marvin Hamlisch. I was 16 and he was 17 and we were at Camp Geneva…one of the most memorable times in my life. I was in 2 of his shows and loved going to Sing every morning after breakfast. Who new who this talented boy was!

      I always loved Barbra Streisand. One day I went to see The Way We Were when it first opened. I was so moved by the movie, that I just sat there when it ended watching the credits and there it was, music by Marvin Hamlisch. I was in shock…it had only been 12 years since this nerdy kid was making amazing music and, at that time,the lyrics and scripts (original) for all our shows. Over the years I would run into him at elevators, etc and of course he didn’t remember me and I would look up at him and say, “Camp Geneva” and a friendly conversation would ensue. I was so sadden by his death that I was drawn to his funeral…an extraordinarily moving, beautifully executed experience. When I left the temple, outside were all the girls from my bunk whom I have not seen for 50 years and then to found out we are having a reunion with Onibar, the boys camp in Oct.
      Wow!.
      Patricia

  52. My heart is heavy…so very sad to hear of the passing of such a wonderful and talented man.…Rest in Peace Mr. Hamlisch…You will be missed.

  53. Marvin Hamlisch an American Treasure! A gift to us all. Seen him many times when he came to Indianapolis, In. for the POPS. God bless him and Mrs. Hamlisch. Connie P.

  54. Thank you for making the world a more beatiful place to listen to. The opening keys of Nobody Does It Better are a masterpiece.

  55. He had so much more to give but he gave us so much. RIP Mr. Hamlisch. You will be missed but your talent lives on.

  56. RIP Hamlisch — I grew up with your music…You are an extra-ORDINARY MIRACLE to all musician and artist you inspired. Your music will always be a legacy to everyone! Continue making music in heaven!

  57. Marvin Hamlisch’s death came all too early. Our deepest sympathy, Terre, for your loss. A huge void now in the music world without him, without his music, without his genius, and without his great smile.

    Donna and Amado

  58. The first song I ever learned on the piano bay in 1974 was ‘The Sting’, inspired by Marvin. It’s the only song I still remember how to play. Thank you, Mr. H. May you rest in peace.

  59. The world has lost such an inspiring person who moved so many people with his amazing gift for music and life. I had the pleasure to know him as a musician and he was always a master of the song, a great conductor too. Thank you Marvin Hamlisch and my heartfelt wishes for his family. He will be with us always. Shalom

  60. How do you say good-bye to such a special human being-he had talent, humor, and good friends. His music will live on. My heart goes out to his wife, family and those who loved him so much.

  61. As a creative individual he harnessed the unlimited potential of his God-given talents with a definite purpose to produce music — music that had meaning and value to others, imbued with a sense of passion and pleasure for his craft, which one always had the sense of and which he embraced fully. And given his perseverance and diligence, this generation and future generations, are the privileged beneficiaries of this “singular individual” and his “singular dedication” to music, education and the arts.

  62. Marvin Hamlish wird mit seiner göttlichen Musik auch in Wien unvergesslich bleiben — wie überall auf der Welt… Servus und ruhe sanft!

    Marvin Hamlisch will remain with his divine music in Vienna memorable — like everywhere in the world … Hello gentle and calm!

  63. The “girls” of Camp Geneva mourn the lose of their beloved music counselor Marvin. How fortunate we were to listen to you play in those carefree summer days and sing your songs through life.

  64. I walked down the aisle to the music from Ice Castles. I justed watched Marvin Hamlisch play the piece on this site. What a beautiful piece of music and to watch him play! Thank you for all the years of beautiful music. It has been such a gift to have Marvin Hamlisch in my life and I will continue to listen and love all of his works.

  65. so sorry and sad to hear of mr. hamlisch’s too soon passing…was at loose ends, had some evening hours to kill a couple of summers ago and stumbled (quite literally) upon a pops concert in progress in san diego w/ Mr. H at the helm…such a warm, and gifted man he was…I will cherish the memory of that evening all my days..rest in sweet peace Marvin

  66. From: Adam Sussman
    Subject: Memories of Marvin

    Hello — I was a friend of Marvin’s and would like to share the below thoughts about him on the website…I would also love to get this message to Terre.
    Thank you, Adam Sussman

    MEMORIES OF MARVIN

    Marvin Hamlisch was my friend and a mentor to me. He was not only a musical genius — he set the bar for integrity and character.

    When I was 16, I had the wild idea to organize a tribute concert to Marvin to benefit my performing arts high school. I had interviewed Marvin for the school paper and made my pitch. To my surprise, he said “Yes” and that moment changed my life…

    Over the next year, we exchanged countless phone calls to put the show “on its feet” and discussed every last detail. My initial plan was for the student performers (Musicians, singers, dancers, filmmakers and visual artists) to pay tribute to Marvin and to do an interview with him a la “Inside the Actors’ Studio.” When a newspaper mistakenly reported that Marvin was going to be performing, he called me up and said, “Well, I guess I should perform!”

    Imagine how thrilling it was for the student vocalists to sing “Sunshine Lollipops and Rainbows,” “Through the Eyes of Love” and a medley from “A Chorus Line” with the man behind the music accompanying them at the piano. Marvin spent the day rehearsing with the students…I remember him playing “I Can Do That” and looking back at me with a big smile on his face.

    On the night of the benefit, he quipped, “I’m here for two reasons. Number one — Adam Sussman kept calling me…and COLLECT! That kid’s on quite a budget.” (Anyone that’s seen Marvin in concert knows he had an uncanny sense of humor.) The second reason he agreed to do the concert was because he deeply cared about the arts — he always talked about the positive impact of music and art on young people — and he wanted to do his part to help. And he did — the concert raised funds for the school, enriched the lives of its students, and personally, it inspired me to go to USC and follow my dreams to work in entertainment.

    That night, the phone rang at around midnight. It was Marvin. “Congratulations, Mr. Producer,” he said. “I’m so proud of you.” And he told me that an insert that I wrote in the playbill about his generosity and kindness meant even more to him than the show itself.

    We stayed in touch over the next 11 years. Whenever he conducted the San Diego Symphony (or Pasadena Pops), I’d head down from LA to see his show and he’d take me out to dinner. Genuinely, I left every dinner motivated to be a more worldly and better person! He was so knowledgeable and PASSIONATE about every subject — from music to current events and politics. He was a world traveler, a foodie, a brilliant storyteller and conversationalist, and he had the biggest heart and sense of compassion.

    One dinner, I remember Marvin talked about how sad he was when he met a girl who was struggling financially and living pay check to pay check. “Shouldn’t everyone be entitled to their share of happiness?” he asked. Other times he talked about war and referenced a song that he wrote called “One Song”. It was part of a symphony he composed called “Anatomy of Peace” and he’d close every concert with it, including ours…

    If we all sing one song
    One song of love
    One song of peace
    One song to make all our troubles cease
    One hymn, one theme, one hope, one dream Imagine what tomorrow would bring If we all sing one song.”

    One might think that Marvin’s notion was utopian or impossible…But over the last 2 weeks since his passing, I learned for the first time that it’s not. He proved — through his own actions — that it is possible!…Marvin made me feel that I mattered and in reading other writings since his death, I’ve learned that he made others feel the same. Friends wrote, “He made me feel special. He made me feel important.” Marvin’s wife Terre said that Marvin always said YES to almost every philanthropic request.

    Marvin was a living embodiment of his message. Just by saying “Yes,” he substantially impacted my life and the lives of so many others through his kind actions. He not only left the world with his music; he left us with this incredible message…We have the power to do good and to make change. I will never forget it and I will never forget him.

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