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‘Chorus Line’ composer Marvin Hamlisch dies at 68

More photos: Marvin Hamlisch

Celebrated composer Marvin Hamlisch, best known for the Tony Award-winning "A Chorus Line" and the movie classic "The Sting," has died in Los Angeles. He was 68.

Family spokesman Jason Lee said Hamlisch died Monday after a brief illness, but he did not provide additional details, according to the Associated Press.

Hamlisch was a prolific composer. His work included the Oscar-winning score and song for "The Way We Were," as well as "Sophie's Choice," "Ordinary People," "Ice Castles" and, most recently, "The Informant."

PHOTOS: Marvin Hamlisch

Hamlisch, the winner of three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys and the Tony -– as well as a Pulitzer Prize -– came to the Pasadena Pops as principal conductor last year.

Despite his credentials, he started with a two-season, six-concert contract, joking, "because if it doesn't work, why should they be stuck with me for five years?"

"I like everybody here," he told The Times in August 2011. "I think they are really trying, and I've found this to be refreshing. I felt like they can only afford so much, and [I decided], you know what, I should be part of this, because it could be a great success story. You don't know, so you give it a shot."

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After his first conducting effort, Paul Jan Zdunek, chief executive of the Pasadena Symphony and Pops organization, gave Hamlisch high marks: "You wind Marvin up, you send him out, and he knocks it out of the park."

Hamlisch conducted with orchestras across the country and in Europe, including the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland and Royal Philharmonic orchestras. He often conducted music from "A Chorus Line" and other Broadway shows as well as from his more than 40 motion picture scores.

Hamlisch seemed to enjoy the gig. On his Facebook page in July, he posted a note: Love you Pasadena symphony ! ... Thank you record breaking crowds for showing your support ! 3,800 .. Wow ! Can't do it without you ! See you in September!"

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-- Kimi Yoshino

Photo: Marvin Hamlisch performs during Marvin Does Marvin at the Pasadena Symphony and Pops near the Rose Bowl on July 24, 2011. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times

 
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