Marvin Hamlisch — Obituary

New York — Dear Marvin: We’re writing this letter to Heaven to tell you how much Myrna and I miss you. From our first meeting in the early 1950’s at the Juilliard School (when we shared Frances Goldstein as our piano teacher), through all of the adventures that followed and then again, through Ann-Margret and the irony of your coming to me as your attorney  to guide you in so many matters and  as your friend to talk about so many other matters: our trips on the IRT to see Joseph Papp and Michael Bennett and work on Chorus Line as you carried with you the brown paper bag from your mother with the tuna fish sandwich and the mayonnaise stains on the outside of the bag to the dramas and traumas which led up to They’re Playing Our Song and the meeting of the mothers at The Bottom Line to the fun of The Sting and The Way We Were to the not-so-smiling-but-frowning Smile with the gifted Howard Ashman and then running to see Jean in London and then your wonderful work on The Sweet Smell, which was not a sweet success and turned out to be a not-so-sweet disappointment — only to be reversed in a very private fashion, not to be shared because the redemption of the entire experience which drove you back to the theatre once again, to the disappointments of The Goodbye Girl to which we all said bye-bye — and all the other baddies and goodies and the all-time giggling and our trips to Georgetown for the white pizza parties and our time at the Reagan White House, your spirit, energy, charm and warmth, your never-ending charitable endeavors, always rushing to take care of everyone’s medical and emotional problems, always maintaining a moral compass of decency, always focused on your commitment to music and keeping live music in concert halls and preserving the experience by bringing a great sense of theatricality and a generosity of spirit; those wonderful shared weekends in Southampton and then in Westhampton, in Connecticut and in Beverly Hills, at Hilhaven Lodge, in Benedict Canyon, on Park Avenue, the surprise 25th anniversary party you gave to us (gimme a break, Marvin! You really blindfolded the string players!), all of the shared confidences, the intimacies, the true friendship, the camaraderie that can only come about when you know someone for about 60 years. We bid you adieu. And Marvin, old friend, nobody ever did so much for so many, and Marvin — nobody did it better. Myrna and Freddie Gershon  Published in The New York Times on August 14, 2012



  1. I have such a sweet memory of Marvin Hamlisch. Back in the late 60’s I was a youth worker at a settlement house on NYC’s west side. A young college intern named Marvin Hamlisch was assigned to work with the young children giving them a music experience. He came several times and played piano and had the childen singing, dancing and giggling. One afternoon he arrived with his dad who had an accordian — what a great time we all had. We didn’t know back then we were in the presence of musical genius — we just knew he was fun, talented and made our day better. Thanks , Marvin.

  2. Through our PBS specials (“Marvin Hamlisch & The Pittsburgh Pops”) and your hosting of the kickoff to Thirteen/WNET’s “MetroArts/Thirteen”, I considered you a best pal/collaborator. Your handsome gift sits on my desk and now, when I look upon it, I cry instead of smile. I miss you, buddy.

  3. What a wonderful man he was. Marvins’ talent was immense. So much emotion, joy, sadness every emotion you can imagine was touched by him. I still look @ “The Way We Were” and cant’ stop the flood of emotions from the music and the lyrics. Not to mention the “Chorus Line” such as life we often Hope that in the end we all get casted. But just the music pulls you into, that Fantasy that we can all win. Fantasy or not, all of Marvin Hamlischs’ music, scores hit a heartstring in us all somewhere. And if not you just simply were not on this planet. Sorry you missed the show. to Mr. Hamlischs’ family we are grieving with you, and our prayers are always for your comfort and peace at this time of great loss We will sorely miss him and all that he gave to this world.

  4. So sad…Marvin passing. Spent great time, friends and mentors. Had the joy of working with Marvin in six cities over 30 years… will never forget.