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December 1, 2013  RSS feed
Culture

Text: T T T

Biography of Marvin Hamlish debuts Dec. 27 on PBS


Eight-year-old Marvin Hamlisch plays the accordion, 1952. 
photo Courtesy of the Hamlisch family. Eight-year-old Marvin Hamlisch plays the accordion, 1952. photo Courtesy of the Hamlisch family. A film biography on the late composer and conductor Marvin Hamlish will premiere Friday, Dec. 27 at 9 p.m. on local PBS station WEDU with encore presentations Sunday, Dec. 29 at 4:30 p.m. and on Tuesday, Dec. 31 at 1 p.m.

The documentary is the season 27 finale of the American Masters Series and is titled Marvin Hamlish: What He Did For Love.

Hamlish, who died last year at age 68, earned four Grammys, four Emmys, three Oscars, three Golden Globes, a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize. His hits – “The Way We Were,” “Nobody Does It Better” and scores for The Sting, Sophie’s Choice and A Chorus Line – made him the go-to composer and performer for film, Broadway, every U.S. President since Reagan and concert halls worldwide.

Tony-winner Dori Berinstein’s documentary features new interviews with family, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Steven Soderbergh, Quincy Jones, Sir Tim Rice, Christopher Walken, Joe Torre, Woody Allen, John Lithgow, Lucie Arnaz, Ann-Margret and others. With exclusive access to Hamlisch’s personal archives and cooperation from his family, the film explores Hamlish’s life and prolific career.

Berinstein presents a personal, insider portrait of the man. “Marvin’s astounding musical genius was certainly breathtaking, but it was his irrepressible joy for life and his unending generosity that constantly had me in awe,” said Berinstein, who was friends with Hamlisch and collaborated with him on a new Broadway musical before his death. She is working to finish the musical, which will feature his final score.

A musical prodigy accepted to Juilliard at age 6, Hamlisch defied classical expectations to create his own music, dedicating his talents to musical theatre and pop music composition.

By age 31, he achieved unprecedented success and honors with a string of smash hits, and then his streak ended. Faced with overwhelming pressure and sky-high expectations to repeat his hits, Hamlisch fell into a self-described “period of suffocating despair,” before rebounding to find true love worthy of a Broadway musical and renewed passion for creation.


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