"A Chorus Line" composer Marvin Hamlisch dies at 68

Tue Aug 7, 2012 4:56pm EDT
 
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Marvin Hamlisch, the award-winning composer of "A Chorus Line" and "The Way We Were", has died suddenly at the age of 68, prompting warm tributes from Barbra Streisand, Liza Minnelli, former U.S. first lady Nancy Reagan and dozens of stage and screen stars.

Hamlisch, the musical force behind "The Sting" and numerous other movies and Broadway shows, died in Los Angeles on Monday, a family spokesman said. He collapsed following what was called "a brief illness". Details were not made public.

Streisand, a friend of 45 years and star of romantic movie "The Way We Were", said she was "devastated" at his death and recalled how he had played at her 1998 wedding.

"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 ... He was a true musical genius but above all that, he was a beautiful human being. I will truly miss him," she added in a statement.

Hamlisch, who was working until days before his death, earned the rare distinction of winning Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.

Minnelli said she had been friends with Hamlisch since the age of 13 and recalled he arranged her first and second albums.

"I have lost my first lifelong best friend, and sadly we have lost a splendid, splendid talent," the singer and actress said in a statement.

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Award-winning composer Marvin Hamlisch is shown in this publicity photo released to Reuters August 7, 2012. Hamlisch, who earned acclaim and popularity for dozens of motion picture scores including "The Way We Were," has died in Los Angeles August 6, 2012 at the age of 68. REUTERS/Len Price/Handout