Marvin Hamlisch — Obituary

New York — Dear Marvin: We’re writing this letter to Heaven to tell you how much Myrna and I miss you. From our first meeting in the early 1950’s at the Juilliard School (when we shared Frances Goldstein as our piano teacher), through all of the adventures that followed and then again, through Ann-Margret and the irony of your coming to me as your attorney  to guide you in so many matters and  as your friend to talk about so many other matters: our trips on the IRT to see Joseph Papp and Michael Bennett and work on Chorus Line as you carried with you the brown paper bag from your mother with the tuna fish sandwich and the mayonnaise stains on the outside of the bag to the dramas and traumas which led up to They’re Playing Our Song and the meeting of the mothers at The Bottom Line to the fun of The Sting and The Way We Were to the not-so-smiling-but-frowning Smile with the gifted Howard Ashman and then running to see Jean in London and then your wonderful work on The Sweet Smell, which was not a sweet success and turned out to be a not-so-sweet disappointment — only to be reversed in a very private fashion, not to be shared because the redemption of the entire experience which drove you back to the theatre once again, to the disappointments of The Goodbye Girl to which we all said bye-bye — and all the other baddies and goodies and the all-time giggling and our trips to Georgetown for the white pizza parties and our time at the Reagan White House, your spirit, energy, charm and warmth, your never-ending charitable endeavors, always rushing to take care of everyone’s medical and emotional problems, always maintaining a moral compass of decency, always focused on your commitment to music and keeping live music in concert halls and preserving the experience by bringing a great sense of theatricality and a generosity of spirit; those wonderful shared weekends in Southampton and then in Westhampton, in Connecticut and in Beverly Hills, at Hilhaven Lodge, in Benedict Canyon, on Park Avenue, the surprise 25th anniversary party you gave to us (gimme a break, Marvin! You really blindfolded the string players!), all of the shared confidences, the intimacies, the true friendship, the camaraderie that can only come about when you know someone for about 60 years. We bid you adieu. And Marvin, old friend, nobody ever did so much for so many, and Marvin — nobody did it better. Myrna and Freddie Gershon  Published in The New York Times on August 14, 2012