The Marvin Hamlisch funeral â€” something for everyone for the man who couldn’t say no!
‘Without music, life would be a mistake,â€ said Fredrich Nietzsche. So many of you responded to my remembrances on the unexpected and sudden death of Marvin Hamlisch.
Well, his funeral was â€œthe real thingâ€ â€” with something for everyone at Temple Emanu-El last Tuesday. It had a former president of the United States, Bill Clinton. It had a letter read aloud from Nancy Reagan and another from President Barack Obama. It had Marvin’s great friend Sir Howard Stringer of Sony. It had the broken-hearted Leonard Lauder who equated Terre Hamlisch’s loss with his own recent loss of his wife, Evelyn. It had old friends galore. It had Hebrew prayers. It had stars (Liza Minnelli, the Yankees’ Joe Torre, Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford, Idina Menzel, Kelli O’Hara, Raul Esparza, Ann-Margret, Leslie Uggams, Richard Gere, Tony Danza, Joy and Regis Philbin, Diane Sawyer, Mike Nichols, Chris Matthews, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Kelly Bishop, Priscilla Lopez, Candice Bergen, Alan Alda, Bette Midler, Susan Lucci, Bernadette Peters) and perhaps others I did not glimpse. It had a big choir. Plus a singalong with the audience of â€œWhat I Did for Loveâ€ And, it had a magnificent tribute delivered by Marvin’s widow Terre. What it didn’t have was the word â€œNo!â€
Marvin spent his life saying â€œYesâ€ to almost every request, even the impossible ones. And Terre said that whenever she was depressed or lying down retreating from life, Marvin would come, jump on the bed and start singing the score from a famous musical.
This was not a funeral for the Smart Set wanting to be seen; it was for Marvin’s host of real friends.
I was sitting about four windows back from the front, unfortunately, just far enough to not see, or hear, very clearly. Beside me, on the aisle, was a smart-looking young woman in a black sleeveless dress and high heels. She was so young that I thought it OK to ask how old she was.
She said, â€œI am 18!â€
â€œWere you a friend of Marvin’s?â€ I asked.
â€œOh, no, I just came because I read about him and knew about this.â€
Emboldened, I asked, â€œDo you work?â€
â€œNo,â€ she said, â€œI am just entering college. I am going to be a freshman at Harvard next week.â€
â€œWhy did you decide to attend Marvin Hamlisch’s funeral?â€ I asked.
â€œJust to pay my respects. He must have been a marvelous human being.â€