The worlds of politics, showbusiness and sports combined today at the funeral of ‘people’s composer’ Marvin Hamlisch.
Friends and admirers including President Bill Clinton, actress Ann-Margret, Liza Minnelli and ex-Yankee manager Joe Torre, joined Hamlisch’s family in New York as they celebrated his life.
Clinton called Hamlisch, whose casket was covered in yellow flowers, a ‘great, giving genius.’ Howard Stringer, head of Sony, called him ‘the merriest of minstrels.’
High profile mourners: U.S. President Bill Clinton and singer Liza Minnelli were amongst the mourners at the funeral of composer Marvin Hamlisch in New York
Reflective: Liza exchanged words with fellow mourners at the service
Famous fans: Joy and Regis Philbin, left, and Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford, arrive for the funeralÂ Hamlisch died last week in Los Angeles aged 68.
Other guests included Idina Mazel, Kelli O’Hara, Raul Esparza, Leslie Ughams, Richard Gere and Tony Danza.
His funeral was held at Congregation Emanu-El, a prominent synagogue where George Gershwin‘s funeral was held in 1937.
Hamlisch’s evocative music helped define some of the most iconic works in Hollywood history.
In mourning: Terre Blair, bereaved wife of Hamlisch, arrives for his funeral service
Comfort: Actor Richard Belzer kisses Terre Blair as she mourns her husband of 25 years
The three-time Oscar winner, who wrote the classic Barbra Streisand torch song The Way We Were, was also the composer behind the West End and Broadway hit musical A Chorus Line.
As well as his hat-trick of Oscars, the prolific composer won four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globes during a career that spanned over four decades.
He composed music for more than 40 films, including Sophie’s Choice, Ordinary People, The Spy Who Loved Me, Take the Money and Run, Three Men and a Baby and, most recently, The Informant.
In 1973, Hamlisch became only the second person after filmmaker Billy Wilder in 1980 to win three Academy Awards in the same evening.
He got two Oscars for Best Original Dramatic Score and Best Original Song for The Way We Were and the third for Best Original Song Score and/or Adaptation of Scott Joplin’s music for The Sting, the blockbuster favourite starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
Critics hailed his non-obtrusive composing style for complementing the films of a diverse group of directors including Woody Allen, Steven Soderbergh and Alan Pakula.
Ground breaking: Actresses Susan Lucci and Bette Midler join the mourners remembering Hamlisch, who in 1973 won three Academy Awards in the same evening
His most well known collaboration was with Barbra Streisand.
As well as penning her signature love anthem The Way We Were, he wrote the score for her 1996 film The Mirror Has Two Faces and won two Emmys as musical director of her 1994 TV concert special.
His other stage work included The Goodbye Girl and The Sweet Smell of Success. The suddenness of his death took even some close friends by surprise.
Old friends: Legendary Sixties actress Ann-Margret was amongst those in attendance
He’d signed a three-year contract with the Pasadena Symphony and Pops orchestra in California and was involved in a string of other ventures, including a film about Liberace starring Michael Douglas and Matt Damon.
‘He’d pulled a back muscle recently, but there was nothing serious,’ Pasadena orchestra president Melinda Shea told the Los Angeles Times.
‘He had some really wonderful new endeavours. It’s such a tragedy that this happened when he was still so young.’
Hamlisch was due to fly to Nashville, Tennessee, this week to see a production of his popular musical The Nutty Professor.
For more photos: Click Here