Stars are remembering the man behind more than 40 film scores, including "Sophie's Choice" and "The Sting." On Broadway, Hamlisch received both a Tony and the Pulitzer Prize for long-running favorite "The Chorus Line" and wrote "The Goodbye Girl" and "Sweet Smell of Success."
Hamlisch also reached into the pop world, writing the No. 1 R&B hit "Break It to Me Gently" with Carole Bayer Sager for Aretha Franklin. He also wrote "The Way We Were," performed by Barbra Streisand.
"He was classic and one of a kind," Franklin said Tuesday. "Who will ever forget 'The Way We Were'?"
Streisand released a statement on her website: "I'm devastated. He was my dear friend. He's been in my life ever since the first day I met him in 1963, when he was my rehearsal pianist for 'Funny Girl.' He played at my wedding in 1998... and recently for me at a benefit for women's heart disease. The world will remember Marvin for his brilliant musical accomplishments, from 'A Chorus Line' to 'The Way We Were,' and so many others, but when I think of him now, it was his brilliantly quick mind, his generosity, and delicious sense of humor that made him a delight to be around. Just last night, I was trying to reach him, to tell him how much I loved him, and that I wanted to use an old song of his, that I had just heard for the first time. He was a true musical genius, but above all that, he was a beautiful human being. I will truly miss him."
Nancy Reagan also released a statement: "Marvin Hamlisch was a dear friend and I am truly stunned by his death at such a young age. I heard him say once that he was "old fashioned" and I suppose that's why Ronnie and I were so drawn to him, but I don't think you could ever find a more contemporary and talented musician. During our time at the White House, he entertained at many events - he even let me sing with him a few times, but luckily his piano music drowned out my voice! And I'll never forget that he wrote a special song for Ronnie's surprise 77th birthday party in 1988."
Liza Minnelli also spoke out: "He was one of the funniest people I knew. I will miss his talent, our laughter and friendship, but mostly I will miss Marvin. My heart is with his wife Terre always. I have lost my first lifelong best friend, and sadly we have lost a splendid, splendid talent."
See how others are paying tribute to the late composer, who died Monday at age 68 after a brief illness:
The GREAT Marvin Hamlisch passed away... What a loss. What a talent. What contributions...-- Debra Messing (@DebraMessing) August 7, 2012
Oh so sad to hear about Marvin Hamlisch. Brilliant composer and such a lovely man. The angels have beautiful melodies to sing now. :o(-- Diane Warren (@Diane_Warren) August 7, 2012
So saddened by the passing of my friend, Marvin Hamlisch. So often, he was truly "the one". The music of Heaven got sweeter today. RIP.-- jason alexander (@IJasonAlexander) August 7, 2012
So shocked about Marvin Hamlisch's sudden passing! What a loss. R.I.P. His songs and scores will live on. And we will treasure knowing him.-- Alan Menken (@AIMenken) August 7, 2012
Thank you for the music, Marvin Hamlisch! Here is a clip of him on stage with Barbra in 1994. youtu.be/YZynb2_kSHY-- Barbra Streisand (@BarbraStreisand) August 7, 2012
RIP Marvin Hamlisch. We co-wrote the Oscar nominated song "I Finally Found Someone". He was an amazing musician/composer and will be missed.— Bryan Adams (@bryanadams) August 7, 2012