OBITUARY



MARILYN BERGMAN
(1928-2022)

Marilyn Bergman (nee Keith), one half of the multi-award-winning lyric writing team Alan & Marilyn Bergman, died in Los Angeles on January 7th aged 93. Before her marriage to Alan Bergman (1925- ) in 1958, she had penned the lyric for the popular TV series Champion The Wonder Horse (1955), sung by Frankie Laine. Alan Bergman actually wooed his wife-to-be with a song he wrote for Fred Astaire in 1957, That Face.

The Bergmans' collaboration began with Yellow Bird – recorded in the USA by The Kingston Trio and in the UK by Roger Whittaker – and Nice 'n' Easy, a 1960 hit for Frank Sinatra (music by Lew Spence). The couple's first Oscar-winning song was The Windmills Of Your Mind (music by Michel Legrand, original French lyrics by Eddy Marnay) sung - after Andy Williams had turned it down - by Noel Harrison over the opening sequence of the 1968 film '…and full of extraordinary circular metaphors such as:

Like a clock whose hands are sweeping past the minutes of its face
And the world is like an apple whirling silently in space
Like the circles that you find in the windmills of your mind!

Lyrics BMG Rights Management, Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Michel Legrand became closely associated with the Bergmans thereafter, their collaborations including What Are You Doing The Rest Of Your Life? (1969), How Do You Keep The Music Playing? (1982) and the entire score for Barbra Streisand’s epic motion picture Yentl (1983) which won them their third Oscar. Their second had been ten years earlier in 1973 for The Way We Were (music by Marvin Hamlisch) from the film of the same name starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Streisand formed a lifelong partnership with the Bergmans thereafter and scored a major hit with You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, in which she duetted with Neil Diamond, who wrote the music.

Other composers to benefit from Alan & Marilyn Bergman's lyrical expertise included Sammy Fain, Maurice Jarre, Quincy Jones, Henry Mancini, Johnny Mandel, Ennio Morricone, David Shire and John Williams.

As the first woman President & Chairman of ASCAP (The American Society of Composers & Publishers) from 1994 to 2005 she oversaw a series of noteworthy achievements, all of which have had a positive and lasting impact on music creators.

We offer our sincere condolences to Alan Bergman, Marilyn’s husband of 63 years, on his sad loss.

Anthony Wills 2022


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