Marilyn Bergman, the Oscar-winning lyricist who teamed up with her husband Alan Bergman on The Way We Were, How do you keep the music playing? and hundreds of other songs, has died in her Los Angeles home. She was 93 years old.
She died of respiratory failure unrelated to COVID-19, according to a representative, Jason Lee. Her husband was at her bedside when she died on Saturday.
The Bergmans, who married in 1958, were among the most enduring, successful and productive songwriting partnerships, specializing in introspective ballads for film, television and the stage that combined the romance of Tin Pan Alley with the polish of contemporary pop.
They have worked with some of the world’s best melodists including Marvin Hamlisch, Cy Coleman and Michel Legrand, and have been covered by some of the world’s greatest singers, from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson.
“If someone really wants to write original songs, that really speak to people, you have to feel like you’ve created something that wasn’t there before, which is the ultimate accomplishment, right? not ?” Marilyn Bergman told the Huffington Post in 2013.
“And to do something that wasn’t there before, you have to know what came before you.”
Their songs included the sentimental duo Streisand-Neil Diamond, You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, Sinatra’s lively Nice ‘n’ Easy, and Dean Martin’s dreamy Sleep Warm. They helped write the rhythmic themes for the 1970s sitcoms Maude and Good Times, and collaborated on the lyrics and music for the 1978 Broadway Ballroom show.
But they were best known for their contributions to films, producing themes that were sometimes more memorized than the films themselves. Highlights include: It Might Be You by Stephen Bishop, Tootsie; The Windmills of Your Mind from Noel Harrison, from the Thomas Crown Affair; and, for Best Friends, the duo James Ingram-Patti Austin How Do You Keep the Music Playing?
Their climax was The Way We Were, from the Streisand-Robert Redford romantic drama of the same name.
On the moody, thoughtful melody of Hamlisch with Streisand’s vocals, it was 1974’s best-selling song and an instant standard, proof that although in the rock age, audiences still embraced an old-fashioned ballad.
The Bergmans have won three Oscars – for The Way We Were, Windmills of Your Mind, and Streisand’s Yentl soundtrack – and received 16 nominations, including three in 1983 alone. They have also won two Grammys and four Emmys and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Another composer, Quincy Jones, called the news of his death overwhelming. “You, along with your beloved Alan, were the embodiment of Nadia Boulanger’s conviction that ‘an artist can never be more or less than he is as a human being” “, a- he tweeted.
Streisand posted a photo of herself with the Bergmans on Twitter on Saturday, saying they were like family, as well as brilliant lyricists.
âWe met over 60 years ago behind the scenes of a small nightclub and we’ve never stopped loving each other and working together,â Streisand wrote.
Their songs are timeless, just like our love. May she rest in peace. “
Associated Australian Press