Marilyn Bergman, Oscar-winning songwriter with her husband Alan Bergman, “The Way We Were,” “How Do You Play Music?” And hundreds of other songs, she died Saturday at her Los Angeles home. She is 93 years old.
Spokeswoman Jason Lee said she died of respiratory failure unrelated to Kovid-19. Her husband was next to her bed when she died.
Married in 1958, Bergmann has been one of the most enduring, successful and productive songwriting partners, specializing in introspective ballads for a platform that combines the romance of Tin Pan Alley with film, television and contemporary pop polish. They have worked with some of the world’s top melodists, including Marvin Hamlish, Psy Coleman and Michelle Legrand, and some of the greatest singers in the world, from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson.
“Originally, if someone was really serious about writing songs that really spoke to people, you’d think you’re created something that never existed before – this is the ultimate achievement, isn’t it?” Marilyn Bergman told The Huffington Post in 2013. “And in order to do what was not there before, you need to know what came before you.”
Their songs include the sentimental Streisand-Neil Diamond duet “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, Sinatra’s witty “Nice ‘n’ Easy” and Dean Martin’s dreamy “Sleep Worm”. He assisted in writing up-tempo themes for 1970s sitcoms “Mood” and “Good Times” and collaborated on the lyrics and music for the 1978 Broadway show “Ballroom”.
But they are well known for their work on films, sometimes changing themes that are more memorable than movies. Highlights: Stephen Bishop’s “It Might Be You,” from “Tootsie”; From Noel Harrison’s “The Windmills of Your Mind,” “The Thomas Crown Affair”; And, for “Best Friends”, the James Ingram-Pati Austin duet “How Are You Playing Music?”
“The Way We Were” is their climax from the Streisand-Robert Redford romantic drama of the same name. Hummish’s moody, upbeat melody is set to the high-selling song and instant standard in 1974, with people still embracing the old-fashioned ballad in the Rock Age.
Fans have a hard time recognizing Bergman’s picture or recognizing their names, but they have no trouble calling the words “The Way We Were”:
“Memories can be beautiful and still / very painful to remember / we choose to forget / so it’s funny / we remember / every time we remember / how we were.”
The Bergmans won three Oscars – “The Way We Were,” “Windmills of Your Mind” and Streisand’s “Yantl” Soundtrack – and received 16 nominations, all in 1983 alone. They also won two Grammys and four Emmys and were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Fellow composer Quincy Jones claimed to have suppressed the news of her death. “You, along with your beloved Alan, are the epitome of Nadia Boulanger’s belief that ‘an artist can never be more or less human’, he tweeted.
“For those of us who love Bergman’s literature, Marilyn carries our hearts and souls with her today,” tweeted Norman Lear, creator of “Maud” and “Good Times”.
Marilyn Bergman became the first woman to be elected to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and later Chair and President. She is also the first chairwoman of the National Recorded Sound Preservation Board of the Library of Congress.
Streisand has worked with them throughout their careers, recording more than 60 of their songs and dedicating the entire album “What Matters Most” to their material. The Bergmans met her when she became a nightclub singer at the age of 18 and soon became close friends.
“I love their words, I love their sentiment, I love their quest for love and relationships,” Streisand told the Associated Press in 2011.
On Saturday, she posted a picture of herself with Bergman on Twitter, saying that they were like family, as well as excellent songwriters.
“We met behind the scenes in a small nightclub 60 years ago and never stopped loving and working with each other,” Streisand wrote. “Their songs are everlasting, as well as our love. Rest in her peace. ”
Like Streisand, the Bergmans were Jews from lower-middle-class families in Brooklyn. They were born in the same hospital, four years before Marilyn in Alan, whose unmarried name was Katz, and they grew up in the same neighborhood and have been fans of music and movies since childhood. The two moved to Los Angeles in 1950 – Marilyn studied English and Psychology at New York University – but did not meet until a few years later when they worked for the same composer.
The Bergmans appeared without the boundaries and tensions of many songwriting groups. They likened their chemistry to homework (one wash, one dries) or baseball (pitch and catching) and harmonizing with each other, making it very difficult for Vrasaro to remember the given lyric.
“Our partnership as writers or spouses?” When asked about their relationship, Marilyn told The Huffington Post. “I think the two aspects are the same: respect, trust, all of which are essential in a written partnership or business partnership or marriage.”
In addition to her husband, Bergman also has their daughter, Julie Bergman.