The head of the San Diego Symphony mourned the loss of conductor Marvin Hamlisch, the prolific composer known for his contribution to "A Chorus Line" and scoring more than 40 films, including "The Way We Were."
» Sign Up For Breaking News Alerts» Like Us On Facebook» Follow Us On Twitter
Hamlisch, 68, collapsed and died at his home in Los Angeles Monday. There was no immediate word on the cause of the death, pending an autopsy.
He was one of 11 people to have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony award and only one of two to have won those honors and a Pulitzer prize. The other was composer Richard Rodgers, who died in 1979.
Hamlisch, who conducted several symphonies, held his position in San Diego since 2006 and performed with symphony about four times per year. He served as principal conductor of the Symphony's Pops Series.
During Hamlisch's reign as principal Pops conductor, attendance at Pops concerts in the summer and winter almost doubled.
"Marvin touched our lives with humor, compassion and his extraordinary talent," Ward Gill, the chief executive of the San Diego Symphony, stated. "Through his perseverance and optimistic spirit, he taught us all that the show must go on."
He started his career as the rehearsal pianist for "Funny Girl" with Barbra Streisand and eventually earned three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys and a Tony, three Golden Globes and a Pulitzer Prize.
The 1976 Pulitzer for drama was awarded for "A Chorus Line," one of Broadway's longest running shows. Hamlisch shared the honor with Michael Bennett, James Kirkwood, Nicholas Dante and Edward Kleban.
Earlier this year, Hamlisch backed out of a performance in San Diego because of an illness, but he was scheduled to return in November, symphony publicist Stephen Kougias told City News Service.
10News learned Hamlisch's last local appearance was four weeks ago when he conducted the Fourth of July Pops concert at the Embarcadero. It was an appearance he made every year since 2006.
A video of him talking about the concert shows him saying, "Seeing the beautiful moon come out which I adore as the show gets closer and closer to the fireworks, of course the fireworks is the highlight. That's something we all look forward to."
Gill said for Hamlisch, the attraction to America's Finest City had to do with its people.
"He just said, 'You know, I love the people of San Diego. They are so warm. They are so genuine and I really feel I can make a difference in the community,'" said Gill.
"Marvin was, as far as I was concerned -- and I dealt with him a lot -- a consummate professional in everything he did," Kougias said. "He was a funny guy, just a delight to work with."
While many are familiar with Hamlisch's musical pedigree, few knew about his devotion to San Diego's military community.
"He donated a free concert just for the military at that time for a tribute to the wonderful people that protect us," said Gill.
Kougias said Hamlisch made it his mission in life to keep alive the music of American composers like George Gershwin and Cole Porter, and did so by interacting with youth who attended his shows.
Hamlisch's credits include some of the best known works in the second half of the last century, including melodies for "One" from "A Chorus Line," "The Way We Were" by Streisand, "Nobody Does it Better" by Carly Simon for "The Spy Who Loved Me," and the theme song for "The Sting."
Copyright Do you have more information about this story? Click here to contact usCopyright 2012 by 10News.com. City News Service contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.