Oscar-winning composer Marilyn Bergman dies at 93

Oscar-winning songwriter Marilyn Bergman, who collaborated with husband Alan Bergman on The Way We Were and hundreds of other songs, has died at the age of 93 at her Los Angeles home.

According to a representative, Jason Lee, he died of respiratory failure related to COVID-19. When she died, her husband was at her bedside.

The Bergmans, who married in 1958, were among the most enduring, successful and productive song-writing partnerships, specializing in introspective ballads for film, television and stage, the romances of Tin Pan Alley with the Polish of contemporary pop. used to connect.

He worked with some of the world’s top melodists, including Marvin Hamlish, Cy Coleman and Michelle Legrand, and was covered by some of the world’s greatest singers, from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson.


Alan Bergman and Marilyn Bergman (Richard Shotwell / InVision / AP)

“If someone is serious about writing a really original song that really speaks to people, you have to feel like you’ve created something that wasn’t there before—that’s the ultimate achievement, right?” Marilyn Bergman told The Huffington Post in 2013.

“And to create something that wasn’t there before, you have to know what came before you.”

His songs included the passionate Streisand-Neil Diamond duet You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Sinatra’s snappy Nice ‘n’ Easy, and Dean Martin’s dreamy Sleep Warm.

He helped write the uptempo themes in the 1970s sitcoms Maude and Good Times and collaborated on the words and music for the 1978 Broadway show Ballroom.

But he was known for his contributions to films at times, turning up themes that were remembered more than films.

Among the highlights: Stephen Bishop’s It Might Be You from Tootsie; Noel Harrison’s The Windmills of Your Mind from The Thomas Crown Affair; And, for Best Friends, a James Ingram-Patti Austin duet How do you keep music playing?

His pinnacle was The Way We Were, from the Streisand-Robert Redford romantic drama of the same name.

With Streisand’s voice set to the moody, intense melody of Hamlisk, it was the best-selling song of 1974 and an instant standard, proof that well into the rock era, the public still enjoyed an old-fashioned ballad. adopted.

The Bergmans won three Oscars—for The Way We Were, “Windmills of Your Mind” and the soundtrack to Streisand’s Yentle—and received 16 nominations, three of them in 1983 alone.

He also won two Grammys and four Emmys and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Marilyn Bergman became the first woman elected to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers and later served as president and president.

She was also the first chair of the National Recorded Sound Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.

Streisand worked with him throughout his career, recording over 60 of his songs and devoting an entire album, What Matters Most, to his material.

Bergman met her at the age of 18, a nightclub singer, and soon became close friends.

“I just love his words, I love the feeling, I love his exploration of love and relationships,” Streisand told the Associated Press in 2011.

Like Streisand, Bergman was Jewish from lower-middle-class families in Brooklyn. He was born in the same hospital, Alan, four years before Marilyn, whose single name was Katz, and grew up in the same neighborhood and was a fan of music and movies since childhood.

They both moved to Los Angeles in 1950 – Marilyn had studied English and psychology at New York University – but did not meet until a few years later, when they were working for the same musician.

Apart from her husband, Bergman is survived by their daughter, Julie Bergman.