Biography of Marvin Hamlisch
3:15 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

American Masters debuts first film biography of composer Marvin Hamlisch

Watch Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love on Friday, Dec. 27 at 9 p.m. on WV PBS

Marvin Hamlisch
Credit Courtesy of The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

Composer, conductor, genius, mensch: Marvin Hamlisch (June 2, 1944 – Aug. 6, 2012) earned four Grammys, four Emmys, three Oscars, three Golden Globes, a Tony Award and a Pulitzer Prize before his untimely death, making him one of only two PEGOT winners ever. Hit after hit — “The Way We Were,” “Nobody Does It Better” and scores for "The Sting," "Sophie’s Choice" and the Broadway juggernaut "A Chorus Line" — made him the go-to composer and performer for film, Broadway, every U.S. President since Reagan and concert halls worldwide. With exclusive access to Hamlisch’s personal archival treasure trove and complete cooperation from his family, Dramatic Forces and American Masters explore his prolific life and career in this 90-minute special.

In the first film biography about Hamlisch, award-winning filmmaker and four-time Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Dori Berinstein presents a deeply personal, insider portrait of one of the greatest artists of our time. Candid new interviews with Hamlisch’s family, friends and A-list collaborators include wife Terre Blair Hamlisch, Barbra Streisand, Carly Simon, Steven Soderbergh, Quincy Jones, Christopher Walken, Sir Tim Rice, Joe Torre, Woody Allen, John Lithgow, Lucie Arnaz, Ann-Margret, Sir Howard Stringer, Kelli O’Hara, Brian D'Arcy James, Idina Menzel, Melissa Manchester, songwriter Carole Bayer Sager and many others.

A musical prodigy accepted to Juilliard at age six, 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. Marvin Hamlisch: What He Did For Love reveals the events that led to both his staggering success and, ultimately, his even greater humanity: his creative process, struggles, inner turmoil and breakthroughs.