June 21, 2018
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Names in the news, Aug. 15

By Los Angeles Times, Special to the BDN

Barbra Streisand had written herself a note to call her good friend Marvin Hamlisch. The composer-conductor was always difficult to reach, she recalled in an interview. So after Streisand had stopped working around 11 p.m. Aug. 6 she called her friends, the lyricists Marilyn and Alan Bergman, to find out where Hamlisch was at the moment. The Bergmans told her they hadn’t been able to reach Hamlisch for a few days, so she put the call on hold. The next morning Streisand was devastated to hear that Hamlisch had died at 68 after a short illness. Realizing he had died around the same time she was trying to reach him, she said, she thought, “Oh, God.” Streisand had much to tell Hamlisch, whom she met when he was a rehearsal pianist on her 1964 Broadway breakout hit “Funny Girl,” and who had won two Oscars for composing the score and writing the title tune, with the Bergmans, to Streisand’s 1973 film, “The Way We Were.” “I wanted to tell him that I decided to sing ‘The Way We Were’ for a concert in Brooklyn (in October) for my new tour. And I was going back to his arrangement from the movie.” She also wanted to tell him how thrilled she was with “Any Moment Now,” a song Hamlisch had written with Carolyn Leigh for an early version of the 1986 musical, “Smile.” “I was going to tell him that I am doing it on my next album — a duets album that won’t be released for a while. I heard it and said this is going to be a great duet with somebody from the theater — it’s brilliant.” Streisand is dedicating her latest CD, “Release Me,” to Hamlisch. The CD is set for a September release and will feature a photo of the two that was shot New Year’s Eve 1993.

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