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The Way He Was…Marvin Hamlisch

Marvin Hamlisch, died suddenly on Monday in Los Angeles. His music provided the backdrop for Boomers’ - and others’ - lives over the last four decades.  

Accepted to Juilliard School at age 7, he was a music genius as well as an engaging personality. Barbra Streisand said “it was his ‘his brilliantly quick mind, his generosity and delicious sense of humor that made him a delight to be around.’ ”

 He won every award possible for creativity: Oscar, Grammy, Tony, Pulitzer Prize, Emmy. His music was diverse as his awards: from Leslie Gore’s 1965 hit “Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows” to “A Chorus Line” - Broadway’s long-running musical.

He once said that performing was what he loved most in life, the thrill of the music – and the appreciative applause.

And while he needed to convince Ms. Streisand to sing “The Way We Were,” (she thought it was too simple), the world soon recognized it as the ultimate musical expression of painful angst when a passionate love affair ends. At least I did.

Hamlisch’s playful genius – immortalized in his music - remains a gift to us. His recent advocacy for arts education sends the message that music is integral to our humanity.

“I don’t think they (the government) understand it’s as important as math and science. It rounds you out as a person. I think it gives you a love of certain things.”

Love of time and place and relationships, a love of the way we were.

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Spokesman-Review features writer Rebecca Nappi, along with writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., discuss here issues facing aging boomers, seniors and those experiencing serious illness, dying, death and other forms of loss.