Theatre Community Remembers Tony and Oscar Winner Marvin Hamlisch

By Playbill Staff
07 Aug 2012

Donna McKechnie

Donna McKechnie, Tony-winning star of A Chorus Line
"When I first met Marvin he was rehearsal pianist and I asked him to play an audition for me. I went to his apartment, and he told me the most incredible story about his family fleeing the Nazis. His father was a musician, and he had to jump off the train to avoid being caught, throwing his trombone off first. He survived and made it to this country with his trombone. His family was close and worked very hard to make sure he had good musical training. The energy and passion and sense of fun he possessed never left him. As a pianist, he was renowned for his brilliance and speed and a strong left hand (which was always my baromoter for a great player). His success as a composer as everyone knows is world-wide, but when I hear his sublime and beautiful melodies, I can't help thinking about that impassioned young man and his family legacy of courage, love and triumph."

Idina Menzel, Tony-winning actress, who performed in concert with Mr. Hamlisch, in a statement
"Marvin was a friend and mentor, but often felt like a second father to me. To have shared the stage with such a legend has been some of the most rewarding moments in my career. Not only does he leave us with the most precious of melodies and music, but anyone who has ever shared an after-show drink with him can attest to his hysterical storytelling and deep love for his stunning wife Terre. My heart is broken. He made me feel so special. I love him so much."

Liza Minnelli, Tony and Oscar-winning actress and singer, in a statement
"Marvin Hamlisch and I have been best friends since I was 13 years old. He arranged my first album, my second album, the songs for 'Judy Garland & Liza Minnelli at the London Palladium' and just about everything else. He was one of the funniest people I knew. I will miss his talent, our laughter & friendship, but mostly I will miss Marvin. My heart is with his wife Terre always. I have lost my first lifelong best friend, and sadly we have lost a splendid, splendid talent."



Phyllis Newman, Tony-winning actress and creator of Phyllis Newman Women's Health Initiative
"If Marvin wasn't such a great composer, he could have been Jerry Seinfeld, one of the funniest men ever!... When Marvin was about 16 years old, he came to our apartment to play piano for a party we were having. At that time he was playing back-up piano and was also just a rehearsal pianist. Jules Styne saw him that night at our party and hired him for one of his parties. Then producer Sam Spiegel, who was also at one of the parties, heard Marvin play and realized that Marvin could play just about anything, so he hired him as well..... and that may or may not have been his introduction to the Broadway community."

 Continued...