He went to Juilliard at 7 and left indelible stamp on Broadway and Hollywood.
Marvin Hamlisch, the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who imbued his movie and Broadway scores with pizazz and panache and often found his songs in the upper reaches of the pop charts, died Monday in Los Angeles. He was 68.
He collapsed after a brief illness, a family friend said. There were no other details.
For a few years starting in 1973, Hamlisch spent practically as much time accepting awards for his compositions as he did writing them.
He is one of a handful of artists to win every major creative prize in his field, some of them numerous times, including Oscars for "The Way We Were" and "The Sting," a Grammy as best new artist in 1974 and a Tony and a Pulitzer for "A Chorus Line." He also won four Emmys.
Hamlisch, bespectacled and somewhat gawky, could often appear as the stereotypical music school nerd -- in fact, at 7, he was the youngest student to be accepted at the Juilliard School -- but his appearance belied his easy banter with the likes of Johnny Carson and Merv Griffin. And his melodies were sure-footed and sometimes swashbuckling. "One," from "A Chorus Line," with its punchy, brassy lines, distills the essence of the Broadway showstopper. (The musical ran for 6,137 performances on Broadway, the most until "Cats.")
Hamlisch had a long association with Barbra Streisand that began when, at 19, he became a rehearsal pianist for her show "Funny Girl." Yet he told Current Biography in 1976 that Streisand was reluctant to record what became the pair's greatest collaboration, "The Way We Were." The song became a No. 1 pop single, an Oscar winner and a signature song for Streisand.
Hamlisch had his second-biggest pop hit with "Nobody Does It Better," written with lyricist Carole Bayer Sager and the theme from the James Bond film "The Spy Who Loved Me."
Marvin Frederick Hamlisch was born June 2, 1944, in New York. His father, Max, was an accordionist, and at age 5 Hamlisch was reproducing on the piano songs he heard on the radio; his entrance into Juilliard soon followed. According to his wife, Terre Blair, he was being groomed as "the next Horowitz," but when everyone was gone he would play show tunes.
He wrote the background scores for "Ordinary People," "Sophie's Choice" and, most recently, "The Informant."
His later theater scores included "The Goodbye Girl" (1993) and "Sweet Smell of Success" (2002) and "Imaginary Friends" (2002).
He had also completed the scores for an HBO movie based on the life of Liberace, "Behind the Candelabra," and for a musical based on the Jerry Lewis film "The Nutty Professor," which opened in Nashville last month.